Standard vs. High Efficiency Furnaces

Standard vs. High Efficiency Furnaces

When purchasing a furnace for your home, being aware of the many types of furnaces available will help make the buying process easier. The two main types of furnaces available for sale include standard and high-efficiency furnaces. With each furnace type comes different benefits. High-efficiency gas furnaces feature Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings as high as 98 percent. In addition, this type of heating system provides superior temperature regulating features to meet the real-time heating demands of your home. If you're in the process of comparing different categories of furnaces, we’ve laid out the different options that are available and what they mean to help you make the best decision for your home.

Different Types of Furnaces

Single-Stage Furnaces

This type of furnace utilizes a gas valve that opens and closes permitting gas to flow at a single, consistent rate. A single-stage furnace operates at only one capacity: high. With only one flow rate, single-stage systems are less efficient than two-stage systems and operate at about 80% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE).

Two-Stage Furnaces

High-efficiency two-stage furnace systems operate at two capacities: high and low. These systems utilize the low setting a majority of the time, only kicking into high when temperatures are bitter cold. If you’re comparing a single stage vs two-stage furnace for the home, we recommend investing in a two-stage system because they are more energy-efficient and provide a more consistent temperature. Because they operate more efficiently, two-stage furnaces will save you money on your gas bill.

Modulating Furnaces

High-efficiency modulating furnaces continually monitor temperature and heat output, adjusting the gas flow in small increments. The minute-by-minute monitoring utilized by this type of furnace allows for even temperature throughout the home. These HVAC systems also feature the highest efficiency ratings in the industry. 

Electric & Oil Furnaces

Electric furnaces heat the air by pushing it through heated coils before it enters your ductwork. High-effiency oil furnaces burn home heating oil (HHO) and are less common. Both of these options are good for homes that don’t have access to renewable fuel sources, such as natural gas.

Tips & Insights: Why Is My Furnace Not Heating My Home?

AFUE Rating Measures: What Do They Mean?

AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency measures the amount of heat produced per volume of fuel used each year. Types of furnaces with higher AFUE ratings are considered more energy-efficient and have lower yearly fuel costs.

Typically, AFUE ratings range between 55% and 95%. An AFUE rating of 75% means a furnace will convert 75% of its usable fuel to heat, while 25% of it may escape, unused, through air leaks. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace is, as it turns the most fuel into usable heat.

When comparing pricing for different types of high-efficiency furnaces, it’s important to consider the AFUE rating. This rating will help you calculate the annual fuel cost of each system, giving you a near precise idea of what it will cost to run the unit each year. 

AFUE Furnace Categories Explained

There are four AFUE rating categories. These ratings give consumers an idea of how efficient their furnace system is. The four AFUE rating categories include:

  • Obsolete Low-Efficiency Furnaces; 55% to 72%; considered out-of-date technology
  • Low-Efficiency Furnaces: 78%; the minimum requirement for new furnaces
  • Standard Efficiency Furnaces: 80%
  • High-Efficiency Furnaces: 90% to 98%

Keep Warm This Winter With a New High-Efficiency Furnace From Stephens Plumbing

Save money by installing a new, high-efficiency two stage or modulating gas furnace in your home. At Stephens Plumbing, we’ll help you decide between the different types of furnaces to find the best furnace type for your home. We offer furnace repair and installation services in areas of Illinois such as Downers Grove, Darien, Plainfield, Burr Ridge, Naperville, Westmont, Wheaton, and Woodridge. Our skilled technicians are knowledgeable in all furnace options, giving you expert advice and peace of mind. Our team also provides a large selection of plumbing services such as water line repair, water heater installation, and drain cleaning. To receive assistance with an HVAC or plumbing issue, give our team a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or schedule an appointment online.

Reliable Furnace Repair & Installation Services

Call Us: (630) 968-0783

Is your furnace making noises? Are you having trouble activating your heating system? Schedule a furnace repair, installation, or replacement appointment with our team of HVAC technicians.