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 so important to maintain an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last updated 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 generating heat.

In 2022, President Biden devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly decrease emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.

This proposal is expected 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 each year.

Starting in 2029, the updated rule would demand 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? For the time being, 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 need 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 style of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the quantity of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to produce the same volume of heat compared 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.

Equipment Lifespan

The life span of a condensing furnace depends on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the unit may have a significantly shorter life span.

Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive

Generally, condensing furnaces are more cost most to install than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the extra features necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the bonus energy savings can frequently cover the price of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

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

A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed based on the heating requirements of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then ramps up to produce more heat. This [precise fan is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.

Many 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 offer an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.

Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Nonstop?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Richmond home as well as the amount of energy it needs to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is required to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. Precise fan speeds offer more efficient heating in your home while also offering 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 runs at a reduced capacity to help maintain the desired temperature for 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 enjoy enhanced energy efficiency and steady temperatures throughout 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 won’t run all the time. 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 more energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.

Contrasting 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 uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at a variety of speeds in order to uphold a desired temperature more consistently at home. As such, variable-speed furnaces offer greater savings on your utility bills .

Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces

One-stage furnaces have a single stage fan speed and operate either at full power or not at all. In other words, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort at home.

Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, 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 needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Refrigeration Systems Ltd. Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Refrigeration Systems Ltd. specialists are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Contact us at 778-693-2532 to get started today!