If you are like most homeowners, you are probably curious about the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system and may wonder about whether or not there are ways to make it perform better. You may be interested to know that in 2009, the United States Department of Energy–DOE–worked with a group of HVAC and utility industry experts to discover new ways to lower energy consumption in all 50 states. This involved looking for avenues through which to improve HVAC efficiency standards with the various types of equipment used to run heating and cooling systems.
Prospective Zones and Standards
The Department of Energy created specific zones across the country based on climate and came up with a plan to raise the minimum yearly fuel utilization efficiency to 90. This was set to become the new standard for all northern states as of 2013. However, the case is pending in court, as some citizens protested the change, citing potential financial hardship regarding the possible need to entirely replace their home’s heating and cooling system.
Currently, the minimum standard nationwide is 78, and the only type of furnace that can meet the proposed standard of 90 is called a condensing furnace, which is quite different from a conventional unit. An annual fuel utilization efficiency of 90 means that the unit wastes only 10 percent of its fuel. Although condensing furnaces increase efficiency standards, they may present difficulties for existing homes and condominiums. This is because converting a traditional unit to a condensing unit may require significant renovations that may be costly for consumers.
Facts About Condensing Furnaces
The primary way a condensing furnace differs from a traditional unit stems from the fact that the former uses two heat exchangers. The second exchanger takes the vapors created when fuel is burned and uses them to warm the dwelling rather than allowing them to escape through the unit’s chimney. As the vapors condense, they drain out via your home’s plumbing system.
To learn more about efficiency standards, contact your local heating and cooling experts to schedule an evaluation of your home’s system and learn all about your energy-saving options.