Where you aware that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are needed 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 converting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.

In 2022, the Biden Administration devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly decrease emissions, save homeowners money and stimulate sustainability.

The updated standards are projected 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 proposed rule would require all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? Currently, very little, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will 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 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 collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the extent of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also demands 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 biggest difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.

Expected Longevity of a Condensing Furnace

The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine 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 utilizes the minimum amount of energy required 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 Constantly?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it requires to maintain 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 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 (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. When set to the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to satisfy demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain improved energy efficiency and balanced temperatures all across your home.

While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate 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 sustain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.

Comparing Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces

Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity as a way to sustain a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at multiple speeds in order to keep 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 is always running in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home.

Conversely, two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at [lower|reduced} capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Integrity AC & Heating LLC Today

It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Integrity AC & Heating LLC experts are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Contact us at to get started today!