Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s essential to maintain an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last revised to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system measures how effective your furnace is at natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses 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 money and stimulate sustainability.

These revised standards are estimated to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Cut carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over three decades, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit annually.

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

With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? As of now, very little, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and does 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 limits the extent of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also demands less natural gas to create the same volume of heat when comparing one 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 capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.

Equipment Lifespan

The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the equipment may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Usually, condensing furnaces are more cost most to install than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the extra components needed to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the additional energy savings can help offset the price of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A variable-speed furnace can vary its fan speed based on the heating requirements of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then speeds up to supply more heat. This [precise fan is much more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, which  subsequently saves money on your utility bills.

The majority of 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 All the Time?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your Milwaukee home as well as the amount of energy it uses to reach that temperature.

When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed to handle the demand. Precise fan speeds offer 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 two-stage furnace is a type of heating system that utilizes two different stages of operation — high and low. During the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the desired temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to meet demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures throughout your home.

While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all types 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 operates at diminished capacity in order to sustain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the heating system switches to its high stage and runs at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.

Differences Between Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces

Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity as a way to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to keep a comfortable temperature 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 motor and operate either at full capacity or not at all. As a result, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired comfort level within your home.

Conversely, two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Done Right Air Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Done Right Air experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Get in touch with us at 414-207-4034 to get started today!