What Standards Does A New Furnace Need to Meet?


Your old furnace has seen its fair share of use. It’s been around as long as your family has had a home. However, furnaces become less efficient as the years take their toll. It may be time to start thinking about getting a new one.

Don’t fret, though, finding a new furnace replacement has become easier to do. And with just a little bit of research and knowledge, you’ll have all the tools you need to be informed and pick the right furnace for your home.

So, how do you begin to choose a new furnace? Read on to find out.

What Exactly Is a Furnace?

A furnace is defined as a product that uses a single-phase current of electrical energy. This current is made with propane, natural gas, or oil.

Furnaces are used to heat up a home and are the main or sole source of warmth. Since 1990, the Department of Energy has put energy conservation standards into place for furnace manufacturers in the US, affecting every residential furnace in use currently.

This determines how much energy each furnace uses, as well as its impact on the environment. In addition, furnaces can also obtain an Energy Star rating much like other household appliances.

With these standards, manufacturers have been creating better quality furnaces, and as technology improves, furnaces will be improving as well.

What Are the Regulations?

Every six years, the Department of Energy reviews these regulations and has a period of public commenting.

A recent standard the Department has adopted has been to classify non-condensing technology and venting as a feature of a furnace. In addition, the Department has ruled to make it so that this will not be affected by energy conservation standards.

Furnaces create condensation due to the heat they create, and this technology helps to keep your furnace running smoothly. With this regulation in place, furnaces must have this technology installed when manufactured. This holds manufacturers to a higher standard when creating furnaces.

An interesting recent development is that the Department is reviewing standards that will increase the efficiency of furnaces by up to 90 percent. This means better quality and even better energy-efficient furnaces could be available soon. As of this article, however, it is still being debated.

How Efficient Is Your Potential New Furnace?

As per regulations from the Department of Energy, furnaces have their AFUE listed. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. This measures how well your furnace uses energy each year.

An AFUE of 80 percent is the general requirement needed by most states, and the higher the rate, the more effective your furnace is. And the more money you save on your energy bill.

Related: What Does An AFUE Rating Mean?

How Many Stars?

New furnaces are rated by the Energy Star system. This means the EPA has evaluated them as an accredited body. The more stars, the better the quality of the furnace. And the more efficient your furnace will be. With huge leaps in technology, almost all new furnaces will be an improvement over your old one. However, keep in mind that the higher-rated furnaces will be more expensive to purchase.

What Type of Furnace Should You Buy?

Furnaces can run on a number of sources of fuel energy, such as gas or electrical. Each one has its pros and cons:


  • Oil furnaces will withstand ice and snow. They are also cheaper to install than other furnaces.
  • The downside is that it will typically cost more money to fix than other types of furnaces. They are also not as efficient as gas furnaces.


  • Natural gas furnaces are the most common type of furnace, especially in older homes. Like the name suggests, gas is pushed through your furnace and combusts to create energy, or heat. They have a good efficiency rating as well as a moderate cost.
  • One drawback is that they are not as powerful as other furnaces and sometimes falter under harsh weather like snowstorms.


  • These furnaces, as they are named, run on electricity. Electric furnaces aren’t known for being good with energy consumption, although they are cheaper. They are typically the least expensive to have installed in your home. Depending on your electricity provider, your energy bill may increase if you choose to install this type of furnace.
  • Electric furnaces do have a longer life expectancy because of their size, especially if they are properly taken care of.


  • Propane furnaces use propane tanks to generate power and are an alternative if you don’t have access to natural gas lines. Installing a new propane furnace will require more maintenance, however. This is because there will be both indoor and outdoor fit requirements as well as the need to refill your propane tank.
  • Consider what types of fuel you have available in your area, the cost of using each fuel, and the cost of the furnace. One type may save you more money than another in heating costs but you may not have easy access to it in your area. Your climate should be a key factor in your decision as well. Colder climates will need a type of furnace that can manage extreme weather.

Related: Which Is Best – Electric Or Gas Furnace?

Ready to Install a New Furnace? Service Legends Is Here for You

Have you chosen your furnace but need help to put it in place? Or are you setting up a propane furnace that needs inside and outside accommodations? Service Legends technicians have been helping residents in the Des Moines metro area for over 30 years. Our HVAC technicians are accredited and will give you the professional peace of mind you need.

515-657-6634Request Appointment Online

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