Condensing vs Non-Condensing Furnaces
As the leader in home heating and air conditioning sales and service in the Twin Cities, we completely understand that homeowners can be confused by the technical details of modern HVAC products. On our website and in our free consultations, we are dedicated to providing information in terms that are easy to understand. You may have heard the terms “condensing” and “non-condensing” mentioned in descriptions of gas furnaces. To help you understand what those terms mean, the information on this page will make the difference between the two types of furnace clear. It’s all part of our commitment to consumer education and demystifying this technology.
Different Heating Technologies for Affordability and Efficiency
Every gas furnace burns natural gas in a bank of powerful burners. That combustion process is completely separated from the warm air circulating through your air duct system. To transfer the heat from the burners to the circulating air, a heat exchanging system isolates the combustion chamber from the air that circulates. The heat from burning gas passes through the heat exchanger and warms the air passing through your ventilation air duct system. This is necessary to keep dangerous carbon monoxide gas from entering your home. Combustion gases are vented to the outdoors through a flue system. Here’s what you need to know to make your best decision:
Non-Condensing Furnaces Use Just One Heat Exchanger
Typically, such furnaces extract about 80% of the heat from combustion. The rest of the heat goes up the flue and is not used to heat your home. These systems are fairly simple. Combustion gases, which include water vapor, are exhausted through a metal flue that extends through the roof of the house. You can see the water vapor, which looks like steam, escaping the flue on homes throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Non-condensing furnaces generally cost less initially than condensing ones, due to their simplicity.
Condensing Furnaces Use Two Heat Exchangers
By adding a second heat exchanger, condensing furnaces can extract more heat from the burners. After passing through the first heat exchanger, the circulating air in your ventilation system passes through a second exchanger unit. Up to 90%-96% of the heat is captured to warm your home. In the process, some of the water vapor condenses into liquid water. That water is collected and plumbing carries it to your homes drain system. Since the exhaust gases are cooler, they can be vented through your home’s wall, using PVC piping.
Low Cost vs High Efficiency
Condensing furnaces have a somewhat higher initial price. That is offset by their higher efficiency. If you own a condensing model, you’ll see the benefits in lower energy bills. Those savings, along with the environmental benefits of burning less natural gas, are why most people choose a high-efficiency model today. An 80% AFUE furnace, the non-condensing type, wastes 20% of your energy. A 90-96% AFUE model uses almost all of the gas you burn to heat your home. The advantage is clear. The choice is yours.
Trusted, Top-Rated Residential HVAC Contractor – Minneapolis St. Paul, MN
Since 1991, we’ve been supplying, installing and maintaining gas furnaces and air conditioning systems throughout the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. With over 35,000 satisfied customers, we understand that no two homes and no two homeowners are alike. That’s why we offer a complete range of home-heating products from Carrier, Payne, Lennox and other manufacturers to our customers. Whatever your needs and budget may be, we’re your best choice in home comfort. Call us for a free, no-obligation consultation in your home. We’ll show you all of your options, give you objective information, answer your questions and give you all-inclusive, money-saving price quotes for a range of systems. We never pressure you, but let you make an informed decision that’s best for your particular situation.