Where you aware that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is 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 turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

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

The updated standards are 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 three decades, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit annually.

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

So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? As of now, next to nothing, 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 your furnace is nearing the end of its life and a replacement is needed in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now 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 style of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the extent of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires less natural gas to generate the same rate of heat in comparison 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 other does not.

Equipment Lifespan

The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent 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 your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Typically, condensing furnaces type of system is a lot more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.

Most variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a handful 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 need to stay on all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Tucson and Phoenix home as well as the amount of energy it needs to reach that temperature.

When sufficient energy is needed to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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

As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. In the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the chosen temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures everywhere in your home.

While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all models 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 performs at reduced capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit will switch to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.

Comparing 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 in order to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to sustain a more precise 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 of operation and operate either at full power or not at all. As a result, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.

Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at lower capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Desert Husky HVAC/R Services Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Desert Husky HVAC/R Services professionals 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 best solution. Get in touch with us at 520-416-5415 to get started today!