High Efficiency Furnace: Efficiency,Type,Benefit,Setup Guide

High efficiency furnaces boast technology for efficient home heating. Runs on gas, oil, or propane and are more energy efficient than standard models. They’re distinguished by their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 90% or more, making them better at converting fuel into heat.

The furnace typically has multiple stages of heating and a variable-speed blower fan for comfort. Plus, some models have modulating combustion tech and heat exchangers for extra energy efficiency. Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace, and lower energy bills with less energy waste. Utility companies offer rebates for investing in energy-efficient heating. According to Carrier, a leading HVAC brand in the US, upgrading from standard furnaces to energy-efficient models reduces carbon footprint and bill by up to 30%.

High Efficiency Furnace

A high-efficiency furnace

Types of Efficiency Furnaces

As a professional in the HVAC industry, it is important to understand the various types of high efficiency furnaces that are available in the market. These furnaces are designed to minimize energy consumption and reduce heating bills while still providing adequate warmth and comfort. Here are some types of high efficiency furnaces that homeowners can choose from:

Type of FurnaceDescriptionProsCons
Standard Efficiency FurnaceAFUE ratings of around 80-83%; uses a single heating stage and a fixed gas valve.Low initial cost; common in many homes; may still be efficient for some homeowners.Not as energy efficient as other furnace types; may have higher heating bills.
Two-Stage FurnaceAFUE ratings of around 80-96%; uses two heating stages to adjust heating output according to outside temperature.More energy efficient and can reduce heating bills; provides more consistent heating.May have a higher initial cost; may still use more fuel than other high efficiency models.
Modulating FurnaceAFUE ratings of around 96-98%; uses multiple heating stages and a variable gas valve to adjust heating output; provides more precise heating control.Higher efficiency and lower energy bills; precise heating control; longer lifespan.Higher initial cost; may require more maintenance over time.

It is important to note that there are other factors to consider when choosing a high efficiency furnace, such as the size of the home, the heating needs of the homeowners, and the fuel source available in the area. Consulting with a qualified HVAC contractor can help homeowners determine the best type of furnace for their needs.

Standard Efficiency Furnaces

Standard high-efficiency furnaces meet the energy efficiency standards set by regulators and manufacturers. They have an AFUE rating of 80-83%. They use premium components, have basic ignitions systems, and are easy to maintain. However, they consume more power and need frequent maintenance than modern high-efficiency furnaces.

Before 1992, furnace efficiencies varied from 56% to 70%. Nowadays, homeowners prefer high-efficiency furnaces due to their superior cost-effectiveness for long-term energy savings. 

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) Model

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is a measure to rate furnaces. It shows how much fuel a furnace needs to create heat. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace. Furnaces with a rating of 90% or more are high-efficiency.

AFUE Ratings & Efficiencies:

AFUE RatingEfficiency
95% and aboveUltra-High Efficiency

Modern furnaces have features like variable speed motors and electronic ignitions which increase efficiency. When selecting a furnace, consider size, climate and budget as well as the AFUE rating. For optimal performance and efficiency, annual maintenance by a licensed technician is a must.

Types of High-Efficiency Furnaces

High-efficiency furnaces boast an AFUE rating of 90% or more, meaning they convert 90% of fuel into heat. Plus, they have a secondary heat exchanger to capture and use exhaust gasses. And they provide precise temperature control with variable speed blowers and modulating gas valves. Low noise levels and less maintenance are other perks.

Remember to check the size of your living space when opting for high-efficiency furnaces. Also, regular servicing is key: schedule a professional once a year for optimal performance and longevity. 

Two-Stage Furnaces

Two-stage heating furnaces have two levels of heat output: high and low. This maximizes energy efficiency and temperature control. Low output runs longer, distributing heat more evenly, consuming less energy than a single-stage unit.

Check the below table to compare two stage with other furnaces.

Furnace Type Efficiency RatingCostFeatures
Two-Stage Furnace 80%-98% AFUE $1,800-$6,000Quieter, better temp control
Single-Stage Furnace80%-96% AFUE$1,500-$5,500 Less efficient, more noise
Modulating Furnace 90%-98.5% AFUE$2,500-$7,500 Maximum efficiency and heating precision

Two-stage furnaces are not only more energy efficient but also quieter. They don’t turn on full blast, but reach peak performance gradually, which keeps the home at a consistent temperature. For reliable, precise heating and maximum savings, consider a two-stage furnace with modern features like zoning and smart thermostats

Modulating Furnaces

Modulating furnaces are designed to adjust their heat output for optimal heating. Advanced tech allows them to modulate the flame and fan speed. This results in better temp control, comfort and energy savings.

These furnaces have a higher initial cost, but their lifespan is longer due to less on-off cycling. Professional expertise is needed to install and maintain them. Cleaning and maintenance can optimize their function and increase their lifespan.

Investing in a high-quality air filter compatible with your modulating furnace can give you better indoor air quality and efficiency. Upgrade from a one-speed blower to a variable-speed one – like a Ferrari without the exhaust fumes!

Variable Speed Blower

The blower fan speed in an efficient furnace is key. This is where the feature of ‘Adaptive Speed Blower’ comes in. It changes the speed of the fan based on the temperature of the room. Have a look at the advantages of using a variable speed blower:

Energy EfficientVariable blower fans use less electricity, reducing energy bills.
Better Air QualityThe variable speed system creates consistent air circulation, reducing dust and allergens in the air.
Noise ReductionThe gradual increase and decrease of fan speeds make less noise than constant high-speed fans.

Adaptive blowers come with a unique bonus. They can adjust the fan speed to meet different demands in different areas of the house. This prevents overworking or under-utilizing the fan.

Benefits of High-Efficiency Gas Furnaces

As a homeowner, upgrading to a high-efficiency gas furnace can offer substantial benefits for your heating system. Here are some key considerations:

  • A high-efficiency gas furnace can save you money on your energy bills each month. This is due to their ability to convert a higher percentage of fuel into usable heat.
  • Improved energy efficiency also means a reduced carbon footprint and potentially qualifying for tax credits or rebates
  • High-efficiency gas furnaces offer greater comfort with heating stages and variable speed blowers that allow for higher precision, comfort levels and fewer cold spots
  • They boast longer lifetimes and warranties than standard efficiency models
  • High-efficiency gas furnaces typically operate at a quieter noise level, improving the overall comfort level of your home.
  • Lastly, utilizing a high-efficiency gas furnace ensures that you are using an environmentally friendly heating source – natural gas.

It’s also important to note that many high-efficiency gas furnaces offer different features, such as modulating and multi-stage furnaces, which both operate at lower heating output levels and continuously adjust to meet the homeowner’s preferences. Choosing the right furnace model boils down to many factors, including the AFUE rating, manufacturer’s warranty, and size of the unit necessary to heat the space effectively.

Energy Bills and Savings

  • Upgrade to a high-efficiency gas furnace and save on energy bills in the long run. 
  • These furnaces use less energy to produce the same amount of heat, thus reducing energy consumption and bills.
  • They provide more consistent heating throughout the house, no hot or cold spots, and feature programmable thermostats for custom temperature control.
  • They are quieter than older models and have a longer lifespan, so no frequent repairs or replacements.

For maximum benefits, hire a licensed professional for proper installation and regular maintenance. Also, upgrade insulation and seal air leaks to improve energy efficiency and reduce heating costs.

Environment and Carbon Footprint

High-efficiency gas furnaces are a great way to reduce the Carbon Footprint and save on energy costs. Advanced technology can save up to 30% more energy as compared to standard furnaces. Plus, they produce fewer emissions of greenhouse gasses.

These systems operate more efficiently, needing fewer resources to produce heat which is great for sustainability. The better-performing machines also reduce pressure on electricity infrastructure during peak demand periods, which in turn, reduces CO2 emissions from electricity generation.

Upgrading to a high-efficiency gas furnace offers multiple benefits for homeowners. Enjoy increased comfort with noise reduction, advanced filtration and precise temperature control. Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of peace of mind with lower utility bills throughout the year. 

Comfort and Heating Output

For a cozy and warm home in winter, an efficient gas furnace is a must. It gives you a steady flow of clean heat, no cold spots, and reduces noise and vibrations. Plus, fewer pollutants in the air mean healthier air quality.

It works by modulating heat output to match your home’s needs. This makes sure you get a continuous performance with higher AFUE ratings than traditional furnaces, and save energy.

Get your furnace checked by a licensed technician. That can improve its efficiency, elongate its life, and save you money.

Key Factors in Choosing the Right High-Efficiency Furnace

High-efficiency furnaces are a great investment for homeowners looking to lower their energy bills and carbon footprint. Making the right choice, however, can be daunting. To choose the best model for your needs, consider the following factors:

  • AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – the higher the number, the more efficient the furnace
  • Heating stages: Single, dual or multiple-stage furnaces – determine heating output and energy bill impact
  • Fuel source: Natural gas, propane or electric – consider availability, cost and environmental impact
  • Size: Proper sizing for your home’s heating needs – too small won’t provide enough heat, too big will waste energy
  • Brand: Consider reputable and reliable brands with good warranties and customer support

Additionally, consider the benefits of upgrading to a high-efficiency unit, including tax credits, lower heating costs and a more comfortable home. It’s important to have a professional HVAC contractor properly install the furnace and consider options such as variable speed blowers and modulating furnaces for even greater efficiency.

Heating Stages of high-efficiency furnace

Nailing down a high-efficiency furnace requires understanding its heating process. It involves three stages: 

  • Single Stage Furnaces 
  • Two-Stage Furnaces
  • Modulating Furnaces. 

Each has its own benefits.Single stage is cost-effective. Two-stage furnaces provide great temperature control and efficiency. Modulating furnaces produce high energy efficiency.

BTUs and Heating Output of high-efficiency furnace

A furnace’s efficiency is determined by its BTU and heat output. It’s important to pick the right furnace for your needs based on these factors. Let’s look at the BTU and heat output of 3 furnaces:

FurnaceHeating Output (BTU)
Model A80,000
Model B100,000
Model C120,000

As you can see, the higher the BTU rating, the more heat it can make. Choose a furnace that has the right BTUs for your space to make sure it’s efficient. Apart from BTUs and heat output, other things can impact your furnace’s performance. Proper maintenance and installation are key.

Fuel Source and Gas Valve

For a high-efficiency furnace to work properly, it’s key to select the right fuel source and gas valve. This decision impacts the furnace’s energy efficiency and operating costs. When deciding, think about fuel options like natural gas, propane or oil and their availability in your area. Additionally, the gas valve size must match the fuel pressure. See the table for more info.

Fuel SourceAvailabilityGas Valve Size
Natural GasWide0.5″ – 1.25″
PropaneLimited0.25″ – 0.75″
OilWide0.5″ – 2″

High-altitude locations need different gas valves than those at sea level due to air pressure differences. Get professional help before making a final call. Note that even with the same fuel source and gas valve size, furnaces can have various efficiencies. Do some research to decide what furnace is best for your home.

Combustion Chamber and Heat Exchangers

When picking the correct high-efficiency furnace, consider the combustion chamber and heat exchangers. Their quality will affect the furnace’s performance and lifespan.

  • The combustion chamber is where fuel and air mixtures are burned to create heat. A proper design ensures all the fuel is used, which lessens emissions and increases efficiency. 
  • Heat exchangers transfer heat from the combustion gasses to the air in the house without mixing them. This prevents dangerous exhaust from entering the home.

Also, pick a furnace that is the correct size for your home, takes into account any ductwork or insulation issues, and has programmable settings to save energy. A malfunctioning combustion chamber or damaged heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, pick a reliable brand that follows safety standards from ANSI.

ENERGY STAR says you can save up to 15% on yearly heating costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 34% with a high-efficiency model. 

Warranty and Customer Service

Settle for an HVAC with great customer service and warranty coverage for long-term savings. HVACs experience wear and tear, so you need the manufacturer to cover any damage.

Warranty and Customer Service: Different manufacturers offer various levels of warranty coverage – from one to ten years. Some companies even offer an extended warranty of up to 20 years, depending on maintenance. Check the customer service, 24/7 availability and a reliable response team are key for emergency repairs.

Innovative features like smart thermostats allow remote access to temperature settings, reducing energy consumption. Compare models based on energy-efficiency, ratings and features to make an informed decision.

Maintenance checks by qualified technicians keep your furnace running optimally. Change air filters monthly and clean ductwork to prevent repairs and extend the system’s lifespan.

Additional Features of High-Efficiency Furnaces

When considering high-efficiency furnaces, aside from their high AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings that can lower your utility bills, they also have additional features to enhance comfort and efficiency.

  • Enhanced Heating Output: High efficiency furnaces have multi-stage heating that adjusts according to the temperature required inside the house, which maximizes energy efficiency and reduces heating bills.
  • Variable Speed Blower: This allows for better control of airflow in the home, evenly distributing heat and avoiding cold spots.
  • Modulating Furnace: This type of furnace continuously adjusts the heating output to precisely match the heating needs of your home, resulting in improved efficiency and comfort.
  • Quiet Operation: High efficiency furnaces are designed with noise reduction features that make them much quieter than standard efficiency furnaces.
  • Environmental Impact: High efficiency furnaces use less fuel, resulting in lower carbon footprint. They also comply with Energy Star ratings, providing peace of mind for environmentally conscious homeowners.
  • Additional Rebates and Tax Credits: Many high efficiency furnace models qualify for utility company rebates and government tax credits, which can provide further savings.

It is worth noting that upgrading to a high efficiency furnace requires careful consideration of factors such as the size of your home, fuel source, and current heating system. Consulting with an HVAC contractor is recommended to determine the best option for your heating needs.

Cooling and Heat Pumps of high-efficiency furnace

Cooling systems and heat pumps are two extra features of high-efficiency furnaces. They help to keep the perfect temperature in our homes. Let’s take a look at their functions and advantages.

To get a better idea of the capabilities of cooling systems and heat pumps in high-efficiency furnaces, here is a table showing their features and functions:

Air ConditioningProvides cool air in warm seasons
Heat PumpTransfers hot air from outside to give warmth during cold months

These features not only regulate temperature but also save energy, compared to traditional HVAC systems. Plus, they can also improve indoor air quality by filtering out pollutants and allergens. This can result in a healthier living environment for you and your family.

Propane and Electric Furnaces of High-Efficiency Furnaces 

Highly Efficient Furnaces utilize propane and electricity to heat up our homes. Let’s compare the two types of furnaces.

FeaturePropane FurnaceElectric Furnace
Efficiency Rate90-98%95-100%
Cost of InstallationAverage – $3,000 to $6,000 (higher in colder climates)Average – $2,000 to $5,000 (lower in milder climates)
Performance in Cold ClimatesBetter than electric, with faster heat delivery and less electrical usage.Suitable for mild cold only. May struggle in extreme weather.

Propane Furnaces offer a good installation cost and work great in colder areas. Electric furnaces are better for mild temperatures and have a higher efficiency rate. Plus, both types emit minimal greenhouse gasses.

The U.S Energy Information Administration report of 2021 states that natural gas is the primary heating fuel source for 34% of households, while electricity is used by 42%.

Ductless HVAC System

A Ductless HVAC System, also known as a mini-split system, is an energy-efficient alternative to traditional forced-air HVAC systems. It uses one outdoor unit and one or more indoor units to provide heating and cooling solutions to individual rooms or zones.

Advantages include 

  • Energy savings and reduced utility costs
  • Minimal noise and vibrations
  • Flexible placement options for indoor units
  • Allergen reduction through a multi-stage filtration
  •  Zoning capabilities permit customized comfort settings on a room-by-room basis, and easy maintenance.

However, these ductless systems come with drawbacks such as a higher upfront cost of installation, requiring professional installation for optimum performance, and may not be suitable for larger homes or commercial buildings.

The Impact of Efficiency Models on Energy Bills

High efficiency models significantly impact energy bills by reducing the amount of energy consumed while still generating the same heating output. This translates into cost savings for homeowners. In the United States, high efficiency gas furnaces have replaced standard efficiency models due to their energy savings. An Energy Star certified high efficiency gas furnace can save up to 12% on heating costs compared to standard furnaces.

Using a high-efficiency unit can offer additional benefits such as Tax credits and a smaller carbon footprint. 

The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating is a key factor in determining the efficiency of a furnace. High-efficiency gas furnaces have an AFUE rating of 90% or higher, with the modulating furnace having the highest efficiency.

The Carrier Infinity gas furnace is an example of a high-efficiency furnace with a variable speed blower that modulates heating stages to save on energy costs. The furnace has a 10-year warranty on parts and labor, ensuring the customer’s satisfaction. Upgrading to a high-efficiency model can be costly initially, but the long-term savings in energy bills make it a worthwhile investment.

AFUE Ratings and Tax Credits

Efficiency Ratings and Government Incentives have a big effect on energy bills. Let’s look at how AFUE ratings influence tax credits. See the table below for Heating Equipment Efficiency Ratings and their Tax Credits:

Heating SystemAFUE RatingTax Credit
Furnaces95% or higher$150
Boilers95% or higher$150
Heat PumpsSame as ACsUp to $300
Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan15% or more$50

It’s important to remember that price isn’t the only factor when buying heating equipment. The table shows that high AFUE ratings give great savings. Buyers should think about the long-term savings with efficient models.

Experts Advice and HVAC Contractor

Experts in energy efficiency can help homeowners save money on their energy bills. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR products and using smart thermostats are some ways to reduce energy waste. Consulting a knowledgeable pro can help develop efficient and sustainable solutions.

Moreover, a good maintenance plan can boost the performance and efficiency of HVAC systems. Filters need regular replacements, ducts should be cleaned, and small issues should be addressed promptly. This approach will keep HVAC equipment running for longer while saving on operational costs.

When selecting an HVAC contractor or assessing products, research is key. Doing research allows homeowners to make wise decisions that fit their needs and budget. Upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace for a warmer home and colder wallet.

Installation and Upgrading of High-Efficiency Furnaces

When it comes to upgrading or installing high efficiency furnaces, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.

  1. Determine your needs and budget: Before installing or upgrading your furnace, it’s important to consider your heating needs and budget. Look for a furnace model that fits within your budget and has the features and capabilities needed to keep your home comfortable.
  2. Choose a reputable HVAC contractor: It’s crucial to work with a qualified and experienced HVAC contractor when upgrading or installing a high efficiency furnace. Look for a contractor with a good reputation and the necessary licensing and insurance.
  3. Consider tax credits and rebates: In many cases, installing a high efficiency furnace can qualify you for tax credits or rebates that can help offset the cost. Be sure to research potential savings opportunities before making a purchase.

When it comes to the specifics of selecting and installing a new furnace, there are a number of additional considerations to keep in mind, including the size and design of the furnace, the fuel source, and the overall efficiency rating. By taking the time to carefully consider all of these factors, you can make a more informed decision about which furnace option is best for your home and budget.

Size and Design Consideration

For the proper installation and upgrading of high-efficiency furnaces, it is essential to consider factors such as size and design. The furnace should match the house’s heating needs and be designed for maximum efficiency. This will reduce energy consumption and cost, while also providing optimum heating performance.

  • To consider the size and design, elements such as location, ventilation, ducting, and overall system compatibility should be taken into account. 
  • Other aspects like climate zone, insulation levels, living space, occupants/pets, and HVAC integration also determine correct sizing.

ENERGY STAR® warns that oversized units lead to less efficiency and higher operating costs. This is due to wasted energy resources and increased cycling frequency, creating an uncomfortable environment. 

Installation and Costs

Installing a high-efficiency furnace comes with costs. Labor, equipment, permits, and other expenses. Check out the price range of each:

CostsAverage Price Range
Labor Cost$500-$2000
Furnace Unit Cost$2000-$6000+
Venting and Ductwork Cost$1000-$5000+

The cost could vary depending on size, location, and complexity. With a high-efficiency furnace, you get better air quality and energy savings. Plus, you’re helping the environment.

Rebates and Utility Programs

Rebates and utility programs can help homeowners save money on high-efficiency furnaces. These programs reduce upfront costs, encourage energy efficiency, and lower utility bills.

Eligible homeowners may receive financial incentives for installing a high-efficiency furnace. Some utility companies offer free energy audits to identify areas with potential energy-efficiency gains, like upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace. Plus, certain utility programs have financing options with low-interest rates for energy-efficient upgrades.

Program eligibility differs depending on location and other factors. Research your area’s available programs or consult a professional to learn more.


Maximizing the benefits of a high-efficiency furnace is key for homeowners. These furnaces offer higher efficiency and cost savings than standard models. Look for models with higher AFUE ratings. Pick a brand with strong customer warranty and support. Efficiency stages and modulating furnaces are worth considering. Variable speed blowers and heating output levels can adjust energy use for your needs. Get a qualified contractor for installation. Take advantage of rebates or tax credits available in your region. This helps offset costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, regular maintenance such as changing air filters and inspecting heat exchangers keeps your furnace running efficiently.