Did you know that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s essential to secure an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last revised to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system illustrates 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, the Biden Administration proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially decrease emissions, save consumers money and promote sustainability.

The updated standards are expected to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over 30 years, 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.

With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? As of now, next to nothing, as the proposed rule won't go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will not affect furnaces that are already in use.

But if you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy 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 reduces the amount of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also demands less natural gas to generate the same volume of heat compared to other types of furnaces.

How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces

The primary difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to capture 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 depends on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace will 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

Usually, condensing furnaces are more cost most to install than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the added features needed to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the extra energy savings can often offset the cost of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

Variable-Speed Furnaces: What You Need to Know

A variable-speed furnace can vary its fan speed based on the heating preferences of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then speeds up to supply more heat. This [precise fan is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy needed 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. 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 run all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it uses to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. Doing this will ensure 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. In the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity to help maintain the chosen temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and steady temperatures everywhere in your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?

A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at limited capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. As such, 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 operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at several speeds in order to keep a desired temperature more consistently at home. Such precise functionality can also help reduce energy costs, as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces do.

Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces

One-stage furnaces have a single stage motor and operate either at full capacity or not at all. Consequently, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired temperature within your 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|reduced} capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Air Concepts of Middle Georgia Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Air Concepts of Middle Georgia specialists are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Call us at to get started today!