Understanding High-Efficiency Furnaces

Posted: 2018-12-27

This is the time of year when your furnace works not only overtime but possibly, all the time. That’s why during winter, your heating system easily makes up more than half of your monthly utility expenses.

If you are keeping up with an older, low or mid-efficiency furnace, you probably have been spending way too much to heat your home. Not only does an old, inefficient furnace burns more fuel, it also causes temperature and comfort issues.

Here’s a fact: as much as you’d want to, your furnace was never built to last forever. At some point, it will show signs of a decline in performance and cause you to spend more to maintain it. If you have been using your furnace for the past 15 years or so, you may notice a rise in your heating bills and more frequent need for repairs.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is a leading heating company in White Bear Lake MN that offers high-efficiency furnaces designed to address the issues associated with older furnaces, particularly high fuel consumption.

The Efficiency Ratings of Furnaces

AFUE or annual fuel utilization efficiency is a measure of how efficient the appliance is in converting energy in its fuel to heat over the course of a typical year. Particularly, AFUE is the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace compared to the total annual fossil fuel energy it consumed.

For example, a furnace with 97% AFUE means that 97% of the energy in the fuel becomes heat for the home and the remaining 3% escapes up the chimney or somewhere else.

The Federal Trade Commission demands manufacturers display their AFUE on their furnaces so consumers can compare heating efficiencies of different models. Also, the government dictates that all furnaces sold on the market today should have a minimum of 80 AFUE.

What Makes a High-Efficiency Furnace Efficient and Safe

High-efficiency furnaces come with several energy-saving and safety features. To understand how they help you save money while staying comfortable at the same time, let’s talk about some of the components of a high-efficiency heating system.

Two-stage Heating

Temperatures in certain areas of the country can change significantly from day to day and week to week. That’s why many high-efficiency gas furnaces are equipped with two-stage heating technology. The lower stage uses less energy and is used most of the time, while the higher stage only starts when it’s very cold outside and more heat is needed.

Sealed Combustion

In order for the combustion process to work effectively, your heating system needs to have proper airflow. Unlike furnaces with unsealed combustion, which use heated air from around your home, sealed combustion systems draw in air from outside in order to save energy while improving safety levels at the same time.

Electronic ignition

New furnace models incorporate an electronic ignition instead of gas-powered pilot lights that are used in previous models. This ignition only functions when the furnace needs to turn on, which is more energy-efficient than keeping a small flame burning at all times.

Variable-Speed Blower

Same as two-stage heating, a variable-speed blower works at different volumes depending on how much heat is needed at any given time. When more airflow is required (like when your air filter begins to congest), a faster speed is utilized. When the blower discovers that less airflow is needed, it switches to a lower speed to save energy.

A Secondary Heat Exchanger

Any high-efficiency gas furnace with an efficiency rating of 90 percent or higher is also called a “condensing” furnace. This means that it uses a secondary heat exchanger to draw out heat from the exhaust gasses that would be otherwise be released out of your home with less efficient systems. This allows condensing furnaces to provide more heat with less fuel.

High-Efficiency Home Comfort with Four Seasons Air Specialists

If you are in search of a new gas furnace and are considering upgrading to a new, high-efficiency model, ask our experts at Four Seasons Air Specialists. We have over four decades of solid experience in the HVAC industry as well as the knowledge to help you find the right system for your home. We are your dependable Mahtomedi furnace installation contractor that is committed to providing you with the best HVAC solutions.