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high-efficiency furnaces

When cold weather comes around, heating your home becomes a necessity. Furnaces have been a popular heating method for decades, and high-efficiency furnaces are slowly taking over the market.

Many people wonder whether these new furnaces are worth the investment and if they make a substantial difference in the home. While some have already made the switch, others wonder what the fuss is all about. If you’re in the latter group, you can learn more about high-efficiency gas furnaces and their benefits below.

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What Are High-Efficiency Furnaces?

A furnace is a heating system that uses fuel, electricity or a combination of both to push heat through the home. Furnaces are often installed as part of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system but can also exist separately from your cooling unit. Furnaces use natural gas, propane or oil as an energy source and convert these materials into heat so you can stay warm during the colder seasons.

High-efficiency furnaces take heating your home to the next level. They require less energy and are better at keeping your home in a comfortable temperature range than a traditional furnace model. Traditional furnaces also rely on a pilot light, which is a tiny blue flame that ignites the natural gas, propane or oil to produce heat. High-efficiency furnaces don’t use a pilot light and instead light the burners directly. This process saves energy and reduces overall costs.

Measuring the efficiency of a furnace is done through an efficiency rating system (AFUE). This system measures how capable a furnace is of turning fuel into energy. Ratings are given in percentiles. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 85% can turn 85% of its energy consumption into heat. The other 15% is used up during the heating process or escapes outdoors and doesn’t contribute to the home’s heating.

The minimum standard-efficiency furnace rating is as low as 78%. High-efficiency furnaces have an annualized fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating ranging from 90-98.5%, meaning they don’t need to use as much energy to heat the home efficiently. The less energy used during the heating process, the less you spend on your utility bill.

High-efficiency furnaces perform better in comparison to the standard. They consume less energy and save you money on heating costs so you can live comfortably in your home.

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Types of Furnaces

When you start shopping for a furnace, you’ll come across three different types during your search. The efficiency of your furnace matters, and each furnace type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand what each can offer before making a purchase.

1. Single-Stage Furnaces

A simple-stage furnace is the simplest version on the market. They only have an “on” or an “off” setting, rather than low, medium or high. The simplicity of these models means they cost less initially, but with limited settings, they often come with large temperature fluctuations.

It might take some time for the furnace to start heating your home. If your ideal temperature is set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a single-stage furnace might not kick on until the interior temperature reaches 66 degrees Fahrenheit. They may also cut off at around 74 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the set temperature on your thermostat. This fluctuation can increase the amount you spend heating your home monthly, which can slowly add up.

2. Two-Stage Furnaces

Rather than just an “on” or “off” switch, a two-stage furnace allows you to switch between low and high settings. This already makes it more efficient than a single-stage furnace since you have more temperature control. It’s also easier to keep a sustainable temperature in the home. Setting your thermostat to 70 degrees Fahrenheit means your two-stage furnace might wait to start up until the interior temperature reaches approximately 67 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will shut off once it has heated the home to 70 or 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

The additional settings and increased control mean it costs more than a single-stage furnace, but you’ll spend less on your utility bill each month.

3. Variable-Speed Furnace

A variable-speed furnace boasts the best temperature control and highest efficiency, so you can adjust your home’s temperature to your comfort level without spending too much money. There are more settings to use, which means your interior temperature will only vary by a degree or two compared to your thermostat setting.

These furnaces have the highest price point, but they use significantly less fuel. You’ll spend less on your monthly heating bill, so the efficiency of a variable-speed furnace will pay for itself.

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benefits of high efficiency furnaces

Benefits of High-Efficiency Furnaces

A furnace is meant to heat your home, but there are many other things the right furnace can do for you. A high-efficiency furnace for your home offers several benefits, some of which include:

  • Lower utility bills: High-efficiency furnaces have the highest AFUE rating and consume less energy, which means you’ll spend less money on your utilities. The money you spend on a high-efficiency furnace will save you more money in the long run.
  • Better performance: As the name states, these furnaces are efficient at their job. They’ll keep your home at your desired temperature without any unnecessary fluctuations. High-efficiency furnaces also don’t have to run at full speed at all times, which means they’re often quieter than standard efficiency furnace models.
  • Increased comfort: Quality performance means improved comfort for you and your family. Keep the thermostat set to your ideal temperature and experience little to no variations in indoor temperature when your furnace kicks on to heat the house. The variable speed also means that the temperature will rise steadily rather than all at once, making your home a truly comfortable place to live in.
  • Better for the environment: A high AFUE rating means that high-efficiency furnaces use less consumable energy and release fewer greenhouse gases into the outside air. These furnaces are an ideal option for environmentally-friendly homeowners. Additionally, high-efficiency furnaces have increased air filtration systems that catch air pollutants and irritants before they can enter your home. They’re ideal for maintaining both outdoor and indoor air quality.

High-efficiency furnaces offer so much more for your home than a standard furnace. The numerous benefits make up for the price, and with their efficient performance and reduced energy consumption, you’ll find that you’re saving more money when it comes time to start up your heating system.

Important Considerations When Buying a Furnace

Buying a furnace is the best way to keep your home warm and comfortable when the outdoor temperature drops. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind before you make your purchase:

  • Natural gas: Most people use natural gas to heat their homes over oil or propane since it is significantly cheaper. Natural gas is also more readily available for most homeowners. While a high-efficiency furnace may cost more to purchase, natural gas can make up for some of the cost since you won’t be spending as much money on your energy bill.
  • Tax credits: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers tax credits as incentives to homeowners who use energy-efficient technology in their homes. This means that using a high-efficiency furnace in your home can reduce the amount you owe come tax season.
  • Environmental concerns: More people are considering their carbon footprint to make the world a cleaner place every day. High-efficiency furnaces use less fuel than standard furnaces and produce less harmful emissions, making them an environmentally friendly option for homeowners.
  • Utility rebate programs: Some states and locations offer cash rebates for homeowners who install and use energy-efficient technology in their homes. High-efficiency furnaces may qualify you for one of these programs, putting money back into your pocket. This is also another way these furnaces make up for their price tag.
  • Time in your home: Consider how much time you’re going to be spending in your home. If you plan on selling your home down the road, a high-efficiency furnace can increase your resale value since they’re a desirable commodity. If you’re living in your forever home, a high-efficiency furnace provides a substantial level of comfort that you can’t get with any other heating system.

Choose Shipley Energy for Your Heating Needs

Staying warm during the colder seasons is a must for every family. Choosing the right energy company ensures you’re spending each chilly day in a warm, comfortable environment. Shipley Energy has been in business for over 90 years, bringing comfort to families across the Northeast. Our friendly and knowledgeable team can get you powered up and ready to go any day of the year with our 24/7 service options.

Trust us to never let you run low on fuel. View prices and plans in your area to fit your budget, get in touch with us through our contact form or at 1-800-839-1849.

choose Shipley Energy for heating needs


Mark R.

Shout out to Service Tech Dave from York for his service call on Friday. After two previous techs were unable to fix our furnace, he spent 5 hours tracking down the problem. Extremely professional and friendly we were thrilled with his help.

Mark R.
Tracy K.

I just wanted to Thank John who had to come out twice after hours for 2 problems with my furnace. He had the problems fixed in no time and was a pleasure! Great asset to the company!

Tracy K.
Debra G.

Lost our heat late Saturday afternoon-Derek called to say he’d be here by 6. He actually arrived and finished before that. He was very pleasant about having to travel to Lebanon on a Saturday evening. He explained what the problem was and how he solved it. He made s...

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Lost our heat late Saturday afternoon-Derek called to say he’d be here by 6. He actually arrived and finished before that. He was very pleasant about having to travel to Lebanon on a Saturday evening. He explained what the problem was and how he solved it. He made sure the furnace was functioning properly and that we had hot water before he left. Great job done in a pleasant manner!! Thank you!

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Debra G.
Ann C.

My service was outstanding.  Of course, I would expect nothing less from wonderful service techs.  The ones who did the installation of my water heater, furnace, air conditioning and iwave were very knowledgeable and professional.

Ann C.
Kathy S.

Having not used my furnace yet this season, I turned the heat on Sunday evening. The furnace kicked on, but emitted only cold air. Following my call, a technician arrived within the hour & I had heat in less than 30 minutes!

Kathy S.
Chris H.

I've been an oil customer of Shipley for years. This morning, I woke up to no hot water. Ran to work, took care of a few things and came home. Used the chat feature to request a service tech to come out. Super easy, and super quick to make a request for service. Tech ...

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I've been an oil customer of Shipley for years. This morning, I woke up to no hot water. Ran to work, took care of a few things and came home. Used the chat feature to request a service tech to come out. Super easy, and super quick to make a request for service. Tech called me a few minutes later saying he was on the way. He arrived, fixed the problem - explained what had happened and was gone all within an hour of me making the online request. Amazing.   Shipley - Wes was my technician today; and he is a very valuable member of your team. He represented your company very well. I could not be happier with his service.

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Chris H.
Mike T.

Nothing is worse than going down in the basement to find your water heater burst and you have water all over your floor.  What a mess.  My family and I are thankful Shipley Energy was able to replace it so quickly.  They even offered to come out on a Sunday to fix it!

Mike T.
Madison H.

Having a newborn baby and a child with asthma in the midst of global pandemic, I was constantly worried about germs and viruses. Thank you Shipley Energy for installing the iWave – it was a game changer for my family’s health and safety.

Madison H.
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