Heating Your Home with a Gas Furnace

Heating and cooling are typically a home’s greatest source of energy consumption, resulting in high billing costs. These costs tend to increase during the cooler months as furnaces can consume as much energy as cooling, water heating, lighting, and appliances combined.  The good news is there are ways to both measure and enhance the efficiency of gas furnaces.

A home energy audit may reveal that the current system is running at a low annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE. If it is determined that the AFUE is below 80%, it may make financial sense to upgrade to a high-efficiency gas furnace that can perform at up to 97% efficiency. Anything below this level means over 20 cents of every $1.00 is being wasted in the heating process.

Types of Gas Furnaces

Not all high-efficiency gas furnaces are made equal and some are better than others based on the needs of the individual and of the structure type.

  • The basic two-stage convertible multi-speed furnace runs at a minimum AFUE of 80%. Unlike less-efficient models, this type of furnace auto-regulates the amount of heat that runs through the heat exchanger to allow lower, more-controlled output to maintain the desired temperature.
  • For even more efficiency, the two-stage, variable-speed ECM furnace not only adjusts the heat output to the lowest possible setting to maintain room temperature, but will also regulate the blower speed due to static pressure with an electronically commutated motor, or ECM. The combination of these features saves the majority of the wasted energy in most non-efficient models, up to 96% AFUE rating.
  • Finally, there is the modulating, variable-speed ECM furnace. Unlike the previous two-stage high efficiency models, a modulating furnace adjusts the amount of fuel delivered to the burner, on-demand. This results in the most precise and even heating distribution throughout the whole house. A modulating, variable-speed ECM furnace can perform at up to 97% AFUE.

Which one of these highly-efficient models is the correct choice will depend on the energy savings payback versus the cost of installation. The systems vary as well, with some being larger than others, some requiring different types of piping required for ventilation, and which method of disposal to use for excess flue gas condensate.

With so many things to consider, let the pros at Jon Wayne Heating and Air help you choose the correct system for your home.