Where you aware that more than 50% 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 turning natural gas into heat. An 80 AFUE rating means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.
This measure is expected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Lower 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 each year.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to be 95 AFUE. This means furnaces would transform 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, not much, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you’re going to be needing furnace replacement in Portland soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now available. See how these furnaces can help you save on energy bills now.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a kind of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the volume of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also will take less natural gas to produce the same volume of heat when 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 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. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment
Generally, condensing furnaces are more costly than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the extra components required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. The additional energy savings can often balance out the expense of purchase, however, so in the long run, 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 switch its fan speed subject to the heating requirements of your [[location]] home. It operates at a slower speed until it detects a temperature decrease and then increases speed up to supply more heat. This type of system is much more efficient than standard furnaces, as it only uses the amount of energy necessary to heat your home, and thus, saves you money on your utility bill.
Many of the variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a handful of 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 All the Time?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t operate all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your [[location]] home and the amount of energy it requires to keep that temperature.
When too much energy is needed to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. When this happens, you can expect 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. When set to the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature inside your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will operate at full capacity to fulfill demands for greater warmth or cooling. With a two-stage furnace, you can achieve enhanced energy efficiency and consistent temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all models 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 diminished capacity in order to maintain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are capable to help reduce energy costs as it is not operating continually.
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 in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces can run at several speeds in order to sustain a precise temperature within your home. As such, variable-speed furnaces offer greater savings on your utility bills, because it has more options in terms of functionality.
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage of functioning and operate either at full power or not at all. This means that the furnace will always run in order to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home.
Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, 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 more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Three Rivers Heating & Cooling Today
It takes experience and constant education to stay knowledgeable about furnace technology advancements. That’s why our Three Rivers Heating & Cooling experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating specifications and your budget, and then we’ll help you find the best solution. Call us at 503-213-4433 to get started today!