Features & Benefits of Purchasing a New Furnace

Features & Benefits of Purchasing a New Furnace

Features & Benefits of Purchasing a New Furnace

First off let’s discuss “efficiency”, now I am sure you are asking yourself what does efficiency even mean when it comes to heating my home? Well, let me tell you…

AFUE: Annual Fuel Efficiency Utilization

Here's the complicated, "technical" explanation of furnace efficiency…

  • A 94% AFUE rating means a furnace will output 94 BTU's of heating for every 100 BTU's of natural gas input.
  • An 80% AFUE rating means a furnace will output 80 BTU’s of heating for every 100 BTU’s of natural gas input.

AFUE: Annual Fuel Efficiency Utilization

Here is the straight-to-the-point explanation…

If you have an 85% efficient furnace:

  • 85 cents of every $1 of natural gas you put into that furnace will go to heat your home, and 15 cents of that $1 of natural gas will go out the flue pipe and essentially be wasted.

If you have a 95% efficient furnace:

  • 95 cents of every $1 of natural gas you put into that furnace will go to heat your home, and only 5 cents of that $1 of natural gas will go out the flue pipe and not get used.

This is how % AFUE (efficiency) ratings compare according to the Energy Star guide:

  • LOW - 80%
  • MID - 92-95%
  • HIGH - 95% and higher

Now hopefully you better understand the word “efficiency”. Now let’s move on to our next topic! Condensing Furnaces and Non-Condensing Furnaces. What are the differences between them? What does the word Condensing even mean? Well, let’s find out.

Condensing Furnaces vs. Non-condensing Furnaces

The main difference between condensing furnaces and non-condensing furnaces is the amount of heat exchangers they have. Condensing furnaces have an additional heat exchanger, which allows them to be able to convert up to 96% of their available energy into heat. Meanwhile, non-condensing furnaces are only able to extract 80% of the heat from combustion, wasting the remaining generated energy.

  • Condensing Furnaces - By adding a second heat exchanger, condensing furnaces can extract more heat from the burners. After passing through the first heat exchanger, the circulating air in your ventilation system passes through a second exchanger unit. Up to 90%-96% of the heat is captured to warm your home. In the process, some of the water vapor condenses into liquid water. That water is collected and plumbing carries it to your homes drain system. Since the exhaust gases are cooler, they can be vented through your home’s wall, using PVC piping.
  • Non-Condensing¬†Furnaces - Typically, such Non-condensing furnaces extract about 80% of the heat from combustion. The rest of the heat goes up the flue and is not used to heat your home. These systems are fairly simple. Combustion gases, which include water vapor, are exhausted through a metal flue that extends through the roof of the house. You can see the water vapor, which looks like steam, escaping the flue on homes throughout the area. Non-condensing furnaces generally cost less initially than condensing ones, due to their simplicity.

Consumption (Gas)

Have you ever looked at your gas bill and wonder what a “THERM” means & why am I getting billed this way? Well, let me give you a little explanation to this word: THERM.

1 THERM = 100,000btus of gas consumption

Which means if you have a furnace that is 100,000btus it will fire up and burn all of those btus.

100,000btus = running for 1hr straight = 1 THERM

50,000btus = running for 2hr straight = 1 THERM

  • Single Stage Furnaces - A single stage furnace will run at full capacity every time. Which means it will burn the total amount of btus (100,000) every time and all the time. This is to heat 100%. 1 hour run time = 1 THERM used.
  • 2-Stage Furnaces - A 2-stage furnace will flux between 70,000 to 100,000btus which means the majority of the time your furnace will only run at 70,000btus which gives 30% less draw when it runs. This allows you to run your furnace longer before it hits that 1 THERM. 1 1/2 hour run time = 1 THERM used.
  • Modulating Furnaces - A modulating furnace will flux between 35,000 to 100,000btus which means the majority of the time your furnace will only run at 35,000btus which gives 65% less draw when it runs. This furnace allows you to run it even longer than the 2-stage before it hits that 1 THERM. 2 1/2 hour run time = 1 THERM used.

Blower Motors

Did you know that there are 3 types of blower motors?! Let me tell you a little about each one...

  • PSC Motors - This is also known as the “standard/typical” motor. This motor has a cool/heat function. It has “4” fan speeds but only 1 is chosen when it is installed. When the furnace fires up you instantly know because the motor kicks on abruptly and then all of a sudden, the noise stops and you know the motor kicked off (think of a light switch). This typical blower motor if ran all year around never stopped you would be paying about $350.00 a year in electric.
  • Constant Torque Blower Motors - This motor is more efficient than the PSC motor. This motor has direct current which is either in the convertor in the motor itself or in the circuit board. This motor is not so noticeable when it kicks on and kicks off it ramps itself up and then slows itself down. If this motor ran non-stop all year long you would be paying about $125.00 a year in electric.
  • Variable Speed Motors - This motor is even more efficient than the constant torque motor. This motor has variable speeds, runs on direct current just like the constant torque. This motor allows for the heat to distribute in the home better, it is a very quiet motor and again slowly ramps up and then slowly ramps down in noticeability of it being on. This motor allows you to adjust the speeds properly for the home instead of having to guess which is correct. Even with all of that, this motor majority of time allows itself to be able to communicate with your thermostats. So, you know exactly what is going and when it happens! If this motor ran all of the time and never shut all year long you would be paying about $35.00 a year in electric!

Communicating VS. Non-communicating Thermostats

  • Communicating Thermostats - Communicating thermostats allow you to know that your system is running and it acknowledges that there is something there making a connection. Majority of time you can see on your thermostat all the functions of your furnace, how long it has been running for, how much gas consumption your furnace has used, it even communicates with your motor and shows you any faults or error codes that may occur. With this thermostat, you can have 2 set points which means it will adjust with humidity and temperature. (IE: 50% humidity in home and 75-degree temp. in home)
  • Non-Communicating Thermostats - Non-communicating thermostats do not do any of that. In fast all they know is that there is a connection being made and it knows it has to work. But it does not acknowledge what is making the connection or even if your system is even running! It has a heat and a/c mode usually. (again, think of a light switch).

The main difference between the two is … acknowledging your system is actually running!


If you are in need of furnace repairs or a brand new unit in Milwaukee, call Burant Heating & Air at (414) 386-3660 or contact us online to schedule a service!


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