Would you believe that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s critical to maintain an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last modified to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system calculates how effective your furnace is at natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

In 2022, the U.S. government recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly lower emissions, save consumers money and promote sustainability.

This proposal is expected to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over the next 25 - 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit yearly.

Starting in 2029, the updated rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? Currently, next to nothing, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will not affect furnaces that are already in use.

But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy bills.

Guide to Condensing Furnaces

How Condensing Furnaces Work

A condensing furnace is a type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also will take less natural gas to create the same rate of heat compared to other types of furnaces.

How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces

The biggest difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to gather any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.

How Long Condensing Furnaces Last

The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, it may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.

Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment

For the most part, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is significantly more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.

Most variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. If a manufacturer wants a furnace to be classified as a condensing furnace, it must offer an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.

Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Nonstop?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t operate all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your Port Orchard home as well as the amount of energy it uses to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. This allows for more efficient heating in your home while also providing quieter operation.

Guide to Two-Stage Furnaces

Two-Stage Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work

A heating system with two settings of operating - high and low - is called a two-stage furnace. During the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the desired temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures all across your home.

While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?

A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at limited capacity in order to maintain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit will switch to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.

Contrasting Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces

Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity to help sustain a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at multiple speeds in order to keep a desired temperature more consistently at home. Such precise functionality can also help reduce energy costs, as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces 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 is always running in order to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home.

Conversely, two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. While in the low stage, the furnace runs at lower capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Air Masters Heating & Cooling Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Air Masters Heating & Cooling experts are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Contact us at 360-205-7115 to get started today!