The Best High Efficiency Gas Furnace

High efficiency gas furnaces receive a rating between 90% and 96% by the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). This rating is referred to as the annual fuel utilization efficiency, or the AFUE, and is a measure of seasonal performance.

Traditional “power combustion” furnaces have a rating between 80% and 82%. Furnaces that have ratings above 90% are “condensing” furnaces, meaning that they are able to condense escaping water vapor and consequently recapture some of the heat that is wasted by traditional furnaces.

Choosing a highly rated gas furnace will save you a lot of money and keep your home properly heated. Especially if you live in a colder climate, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) strongly recommends having a condensing furnace with an AFUE of 90% or higher.

One of the best choices of condensing furnaces is the Bryant Evolution Plus 90i series, which is also marketed as the Carrier WeatherMaker Infinity 96 series.

The Evolution series is Bryant’s top line. Bryant’s middle and bottom lines are Preferred and Legacy. The Evolution model has AFUE ratings between 94.1% and 96.6%. The Bryant Evolution Plus 90i has excellent heat/blower controls and according to the ACEEE, this furnace’s blower utilizes the smallest amount of electricity of any model, only 105 to 258 kilowatts per year.

With an AFUE rating of 95%, the Armstrong Air furnace is another great condensing model that is similar to the Bryant Evolution, but can cost you a couple of hundred dollars less.

There have been some reports, however, that have said both the Bryant and the Armstrong models need repairs more often than other furnace types and due to the high cost of parts, they can be difficult and expensive to repair. Even still, Bryant and Armstrong furnaces have average to above-average long-term reliability ratings.

Another highly efficient type of furnace is the multi-stage modulating gas furnace, whose AFUE rating is between 92% and 97%. This kind of furnace is a bit more expensive but both experts and homeowners agree that the multi-state modulating furnace yields the greatest level of comfort.

Two and three-stage furnaces have the ability to maintain a nearly constant temperature through the use of variable-speed blowers. A recommended brand name of a multi-stage furnace is the Rheem Prestige series, which has a modulating burner with a heat output range in 5% increments from 40% to 100%.

A gas furnace’s measurable performance is affected by climate changes, home size, insulation, window condition, and usage. As a result, long-term reliability is generally considered to be the most important distinguishing factor between furnaces, which are designed to last between 15 and 20 years. So while having a furnace with a reputable brand name is important, it is the relationship between the contractor and the buyer that is most often emphasized.

Originally posted 2010-03-20 00:19:25.

9 thoughts on “The Best High Efficiency Gas Furnace

  1. Pedro Cedeno

    I am in the process of deciding on a high efficiency gas furnace. I want to get an expert opinion on the following makes:
    Goodman 95 % efficiency
    Bryant Evolution Model 355BAV or 355BAU
    Bryant Evolution Model 355 AAV or AAU and
    York

    I woul really apprciate your coment in the matter.

    Thanks in advance

    Pedro Cedeno

  2. Jonece Tyler

    I am also in the process of deciding on a high efficiency gas furnace and central air conditioner. I would like to get expert opinion on Comfortmaker 95% efficient 100,000 and 80,000 BTUs (furnace)and 13 SEER 3 ton air conditioner. Also do they offer a full warranty (sp)/not a limited one? What does that mean?

  3. william lall

    i would like an expert opion on the better of these furnaces

    rheem prestiege series
    lenox g61v
    trane xv95
    bryant 90i

  4. Joseph Vito

    Customer in the Market,
    Don’t waste your money on a RUUD RGRC Series 95% efficient furnace. After 4 years of service had to replace the ECM Blower Motor at a cost of $700 labor … thanks RUUD for covering the part, but you’ll never get a recommendation from me

    Go buy a cheaper model from another manufacturer … it will cost far less to fix and replace

  5. JJ JOHNSTON

    LAST YEAR I BOUGHT AN AMANA 95% 2-STAGE VARI-SPEED FURNACE AND AMANA 15 SEER AIR/AIR HEAT PUMP. I TOOK OUT A 9YR. 92% SINGLE STAGE RUUD AND I HAVE NEVER HAD THE COMFORT UNTIL I PUT IN THE AMANA. ITS AWESOME IT STAYS AT 70* HAS NOT MOVED. PLUS THE WHOLE HOUSE IS EVEN TEMP. I ALSO LIKE THE 10 YR. PARST & LABOR PLUS THE LIFETIME UNIT REPLACEMENT WARRANTY. HAPPY MAN JJ

  6. Richard Ehrlich

    I purchased an American Standard Freedom 95 two stage, variable speed, condensing furnace two months ago. The main thing we’ve come to realize is that we now have a natural gas HEAT PUMP. 105 degree air out of the registers. Finally, after doing everthing I am not supposed to do, I am getting 120 degree air in my bedroom but all of the other registers are closed. Read everything you can before you buy a condensing furnace and challenge everything a salesman tells you.

    The two stage furnace is GREAT! It destratifies the air and makes the temperature even from the ceiling to the floor. If a room is 72 degrees, it will be even all over that room.

  7. Tina

    After investing $22,393.75 in March of 2006 on 3 Bryant Evolution heat pump systems, there has been several problems indicating that these systems are defective.

    August 6, 2010 $700 REPAIR:
    Starting in August 2010 while under heat advisories and just a little into our 4th year, the compressor on the main system #698BN060-C went bad. For the past four years, I have been satisfied with all three of our Evolution systems which we have serviced twice a year. It took 3 days for the compressor to arrive then the factory (Bryant) sent the wrong one. Since this happened over a weekend, we were on day 6 with no air and heat advisories. Friday morning, I called to see if a compressor could be rushed to us. They said it would be Monday before we could get it. Bryant wouldn’t budge and said that they didn’t even know which factory my dealer ordered it from. Pretty much, they didn’t want anything to do with it and did not seem interested in keeping a customer who bought 3 of their top of the line systems happy.

    August 8, 2010 $225 Repair
    Three days later, after replacing the compressor, the capacitor went out on the upstairs unit.

    November 18, 2010
    Replaced defective compressor installed on August 6th. The new one quit working.

    December 21, 2010
    Replaced defective defrost board. The outside unit was frosting so badly that frost was bulging through the wire grate cover on the unit.

    January 3, 2011 $525
    Upstairs compressor quit working, we were without heat.

    My kind repair company tried to get some restitution from Bryant, but they would not budge since they do not warrant the compressors. It is clear Bryant doesn’t warrant these parts for the mere reason that they are unreliable and defective. After spending over $22,000 as an initial investment, having our HVAC systems serviced twice a year only to have parts go bad and dump another 1450.00 into these Bryant Evolution units, that Bryant should offer some restitution and customers should know about the problems with these units before making such a large investment.

  8. Joanne

    I am looking at replacing our furnace but I am undecided whether to go with the modulating lennox (which is the higher end) or the 2 stage ..some say the modulating is more likely to have problems..they both have 10 yr warranty on parts and labour. any imput on this ? thanks!

  9. Naeem

    I am looking at replacing my furnace and have been reccomended a two stage ,80,000 BTU ,Super Quiet, 96.7% efficient, Dc Motor, variable speed American Standard Furnace,

    Is this a good quality furnace and is it suffieicent to heat a 2800 sq feet home?

    Any comments on this?

Comments are closed.