What Impact Will New Furnace Efficiency Standard Have in 2023 and Beyond

March 02, 2023

Would you believe more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are associated to heating and cooling? This is why it’s critical to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last modified to 80 AFUE in 2015. AFUE, or annualized fuel utilization efficiency, measures how effective your furnace is at transforming natural gas into heat. An 80 AFUE rating means your furnace will expend about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

In 2022, the U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save consumers money and stimulate sustainability.

This solution 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 require all new gas furnaces to be 95 AFUE. This means furnaces would transform nearly all the gas they use into heat.

So, what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? As of now, very little, 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’re going to be needing furnace replacement in Hasbrouck Heights soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. See 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 curbs the extent of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to produce the same rate 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 gather any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter 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 should last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, it may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Typically, condensing furnaces are more costly than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the additional parts necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. The extra energy savings can usually balance out the cost of purchase, however, so long term, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Operate

A variable-speed furnace can change its fan speed based on the heating conditions of your [[location]] home. It performs at a slower speed until it detects a temperature decrease and then ramps up to produce more heat. This type of system is much more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only utilizes the amount of energy required to heat your home, which results in a net savings each month on your utility bill.

Many of the 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 be 90 AFUE or higher.

Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Constantly?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run 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 sustain that temperature.

When too much energy is necessary to maintain your chosen temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage that demand. When this happens, you can expect more efficient heating and cooling 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 (low or high) is called a two-stage furnace. In the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity to help maintain a chosen temperature inside your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will run at maximum capacity to fulfill demands for greater warmth or cooling. With a two-stage furnace, you can realize much better energy efficiency and steady temperatures in all areas of your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?

A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at limited capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and run at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs as it is not operating constantly.

Comparing 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 in order to uphold a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces can function at a variety of speeds in order to maintain a desired temperature more accurately within your home. Through this ability it can also help reduce energy costs as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces are required to do.

Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces

One-stage furnaces have a single stage of performance and operate either at full capacity or not at all. Consequently, the furnace will run constantly in order to maintain a desired comfort level within your home.

Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, have two stages of operation, low and high. While in the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with ACE Solutions Today

Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why our ACE Solutions 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, and then we’ll help you find the best solution. Connect with us at 201-579-2562 to get started today!