Condensing Furnaces: Why They Are Different

Posted On: February 02, 2013

Shrewd homeowners expecting top-notch performance and great fuel efficiency from their furnaces are sure to be pleased with the high-efficiency components that separate condensing furnaces from the rest of the field.

What separates condensing furnaces?

Condensing furnaces are high-efficiency furnaces with a secondary heat exchanger that condenses hot exhaust gases in order to extract the “waste” heat before it wafts up the chimney. The heat-extraction process with the secondary heat exchanger is so remarkably efficient that the hot exhaust gases are cooled to the point where they can safely exit your home inside a plastic pipe installed through a side wall.

In addition to the secondary heat exchanger for greater efficiency, condensing furnaces employ the latest technologically advanced components to reach AFUE ratings of 98 percent. If you’re still hanging on to a very old furnace with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of 65 to 70 percent, you’ll love the 30+ percent increase in fuel efficiency from upgrading to a condensing furnace. These are the advanced components that make this possible:

  • Variable-capacity blowers manage airflow within 1 percent speed adjustments to precisely match real-time heating needs and changes inside your home. Variable-capacity blowers deliver smoother airflow for more comfortable and complete heating. These performance factors and benefits are impossible for conventional single-speed blowers to achieve.
  • Multi-stage burners operate with the same premise as variable-capacity blowers, adjusting fuel flow to meet the heating needs of your home for any given moment. Conventional burners are slower to heat the furnace, whereas multi-stage burners quickly heat the furnace to temperature, and then scale down for efficiency.
  • Sealed combustion utilizing direct-vent air intake and sealed exhaust provides safer and more efficient fuel combustion than conventional counterparts. Direct-vent air intake only uses the air outside your home for fuel combustion. Conventional fuel combustion uses air from inside your home, which wastes heat energy, and can lead to depressurization. In the event your home does indeed become depressurized, the sealed exhaust system in condensing furnaces prevents back-drafting of potentially deadly exhaust gases.

For more information about condensing furnaces, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We’ve proudly served Metro-East homeowners since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about condensing furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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