Did you know more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are associated to heating and cooling? That is the reason why it’s essential to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last revised to 80 AFUE in 2015. AFUE, or annualized fuel utilization efficiency, measures how effective your furnace is at converting natural gas into heat. An 80 AFUE rating means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save users money and stimulate sustainability.
This proposal is expected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Cut down on carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.
Starting in 2029, the recommended rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to be 95 AFUE. This means furnaces would convert nearly all the gas they use into heat.
With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? As of this writing, nothing, as the proposed rule won't go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and does not affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you’re going to be needing furnace replacement in Wausau soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now available. Learn how these furnaces can help you save on energy bills now.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a style of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the volume of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires less natural gas to create the same volume of heat when comparing it to other types of furnaces.
How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces
The main difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
Expected Longevity of a Condensing Furnace
The life span of a condensing furnace depends on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, it may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Oftentimes, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is the result of their increased efficiency and the additional components necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. The added energy savings can often offset the cost of purchase, however, so ultimately, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: The What's and How's
A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed dependent on the heating conditions of your [[location]] home. It runs at a slower speed until it detects a temperature decrease and then ramps up to provide more heat. This type of system is significantly more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only uses the amount of energy required to heat your home, which results in a net savings each month on your utility bill.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. In order for a furnace to be classified as a condensing furnace, it must be 90 AFUE or higher.
Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Continuously?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your [[location]] home and the amount of energy it takes to keep that temperature.
When too much energy is needed to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will shift up to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. This allows for more efficient heating and cooling in your home while also offering quieter operation.
Guide to Two-Stage Furnaces
Two-Stage Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work
As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (low or high) is called a two-stage furnace. On the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain a chosen temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will run at maximum capacity to fulfill demands for additional warmth or cooling. With a two-stage furnace, you can realize improved energy efficiency and uniform temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are very efficient, not all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?
A two-stage furnace should not run constantly. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at limited capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the heating system will switch to its high stage and run at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs as it is not operating continuously.
Contrasting Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to sustain a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces can work at a variety of speeds in order to sustain a precise temperature within your home. Through this ability it can also help reduce energy costs as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces are required to do.
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage of operation and operate either at full capacity or not at all. As a result, the furnace will be on at all times in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home.
Conversely, two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. Within the the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Set Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Gilray Heating and Cooling Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why our Gilray Heating and Cooling experts are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget, and then we’ll help you find the ideal solution. Connect with us at 715-301-0727 to get started today!