Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s essential to secure 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 measures how effective your furnace is at turning 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, President Biden devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially decrease emissions, save money and encourage sustainability.

These revised standards are 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 proposed rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? For the time being, not much, 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 need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Find out how these furnaces can save you money on your utility 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 capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the extent of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also will take less natural gas to produce the same volume of heat when comparing one to other types of furnaces.

How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces

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

Equipment Lifespan

The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the equipment may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Usually, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is due to their increased efficiency and the added features required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the added energy savings can frequently offset the price of purchase. So over time, 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 adjust its fan speed to minimize the energy necessary to satisfy the heating requirements of your home. It operates at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then speeds up to generate more heat. This [precise fan is a lot more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.

Many variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. In order for 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. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your Santa Clarita home as well as the amount of energy it uses to maintain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed to handle the demand. Doing this will ensure 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

As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. When set to the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and balanced temperatures everywhere in your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?

A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at diminished capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.

Differences Between 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 as a way to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at multiple speeds in order to uphold a comfortable temperature at home. With more options for temperature settings, you also have more flexibility for heating you home and can enjoy greater savings on energy bills.

Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces

One-stage furnaces have a single stage fan speed and operate either at full capacity or not at all. This means that the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired temperature at 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 additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Verona HVAC Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Verona HVAC experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Call us at 818-306-3387 to get started today!