The goal of Energy Star is to help end users identify products that are significantly more energy efficient than others in the marketplace. For those who want to save even more money, Energy Star has issued its Most Efficient Furnaces of 2013 list, which features equipment that achieves efficiencies of 97 percent AFUE or higher. In addition, furnaces on this list must include two-way communications with the system controller, automated configuration, a thermostat or other control device with a user interface that can be located in the conditioned space, and fault code transmission to the indoor controller.
Homeowners choosing to purchase these highly efficient furnaces will reap the benefits of lower energy bills, while contractors will appreciate the many features that make them easier to install and service. Below, you’ll find a sampling of Energy Star’s Most Efficient furnaces. The entire list can be found at www.energystar.gov.
The Evolution® 987M is a fully modulating gas furnace with load matching performance that delivers up to 98.3 percent AFUE. A modulating gas valve is capable of adjusting from 40-100 percent of capacity, enabling lower speeds over longer periods of time for optimum energy efficiency.
The unit is managed by the Evolution control, which helps homeowners optimize their comfort by improving zoning capabilities while lowering operating costs. Variable-speed ECM inducer and blower motors aid in quieter operation and customized comfort.
The entire gas furnace line offers four-way multi-poise units with a rotating elbow to allow venting flexibility for faster installation in upflow, downflow, or horizontal applications. The main wiring harness is long enough to allow technicians to remove/service the blower without disconnecting wires. The brighter fault code LED is easy to read, and fault codes stay in memory even after power shuts off.
The units are easier and faster to install and service, noted the company, because of the easy access condensate trap; a front-facing igniter attachment; two-door access with quarter-turn knobs; and a longer, rail-mounted pull-out blower.
Standard features on these furnaces include Perfect Heat™, which monitors changing conditions to adjust system operation; and Fan On Plus™, which allows control of continuous fan speed with a compatible control.
The Infinity® 98 furnace with Greenspeed intelligence is a fully modulating gas furnace that achieves up to 98.5 percent AFUE heating efficiency. The unique, modulating gas valve of this unit, when managed by the Infinity Touch Control, allows it to adapt its output to the needs of the home. With tiny, 1 percent adjustments between 40-100 percent capacity, it gives the home only the amount of heating necessary.
Pairing the furnace with the Infinity Touch Control allows remote Internet access, so technicians can prepare for service calls in advance. The unit features large, twist-door attachment knobs to make access easy, and nonvolatile memory allows technicians to see fault code history even if power has been interrupted. The blower is also easy to access, as technicians need to remove only two screws, and the blower assembly slides out on rails.
The Infinity Touch Control is the brains behind the Greenspeed intelligence system, with the ability to manage temperatures, humidity, ventilation, airflow, IAQ, and up to eight zones. Featuring simple intuitive programming and Wi-Fi-enabled remote access via Internet and Apple® and Android™ smartphone or tablet devices, it is a very user-friendly control, said the company.
The FG7MQ iQ Drive fully modulating gas furnace uses the iQ Drive controller to adjust heat output to match the needs of the home. The furnace analyzes the indoor temperature every 60 seconds and adjusts its percentage of firing from 50 to 100 with the gas valve, and down to 15 percent with time proportioning through the controller. The result is a uniform mix of air with virtually no hot or cold spots, improved air filtration, and extremely quiet operation.
These furnaces are easy to install and service, noted the company, and include the following contractor-friendly features:
• iQ Drive thermostat with diagnostic capabilities;
• Easy troubleshooting without counting ﬂashes. A dedicated light for ﬂame signal strength, and two lights in combination, indicate all other fault codes with easy-to-recognize states;
• Two-piece door design enhances furnace appearance and uses captured screws to prevent lost door screws;
• Integrated control board with connections for electronic air cleaner and humidiﬁer; and
• SmartLite® technology, which is an innovative application of an appliance-type hot surface igniter with a 20-year history of reliability.
• The iQ Drive furnace is available in 60,000-, 80,000-, 100,000-, and 120,000-Btu models, ranging from 97-97.4 percent efficiency.
The G9MAE gas furnace features a modulating gas valve, a variable-speed ECM blower motor, and an energy-efficiency rating up to 98 percent AFUE. It is designed to be easier to sell, install, and service, with features that include:
• Simple but reliable gas valves, proven Rigid Press Joint (RPJ®) heat exchangers, and dependable silicon nitride hot surface igniters;
• Soft-mount rubber grommets on blower motors to absorb sound and vibration, while insulated heat exchanger and blower compartments muffle sound and absorb vibration noise; and
• Multiple venting options, as furnaces are designed for four-way multi-position installation, with at least 12 different venting options to meet the needs of virtually any installation.
These furnaces are also easier to handle, noted the company, as they weigh less than their counterparts in the previous 90 percent-plus furnace line, and cabinet edges are hemmed to give installers safer and easier handholds for lifting the furnaces. Large, one-quarter-turn knobs are included for door installation and removal, and the newly designed sight glass — coupled with a super bright LED — makes diagnostic flash codes easier to read in the event the unit requires service. The units stand only 35 inches tall, with widths ranging from 17.5-21 inches.
The Dave Lennox Signature™ Collection SLP98V gas furnace offers a 98.2 percent AFUE rating, as well as Precise Comfort™ technology, which combines the variable-capacity heating system with a variable-speed motor to automatically adjust heat and airflow capacity in increments as small as 1 percent, creating customized home comfort and maintaining the appropriate humidity levels. This variable-capacity system also quietly increases speed, so there are no loud blasts of air during operation. Exclusive SilentComfort™ technology further reduces sound levels by using sound-absorbing materials.
In addition to consumer-friendly features, the installation of the SLP98V is very easy, said the company, thanks to iComfort Wi-Fi, which is an easy guided setup and auto-commissioning that saves dealers significant time at customers’ homes. Plus, the SLP98V’s new flexible design includes vents atop the cabinet and larger coils to allow for a wider range of installations if space is a concern.
Troubleshooting is also made simple, because the furnace features direct readout diagnostics through iComfort Wi-Fi, allowing any potential issues to be detected and corrected quickly. The SLP98V furnace also features a stainless steel secondary heat exchanger, compact condensation trap, and sealed blower compartment, providing added durability. Front-facing igniter screws and flame-rod service also make for quick and easy maintenance.
The Acclimate™ LP9C modulating gas-fired furnace can stand alone or function as part of a hybrid comfort system when paired with a Luxaire heat pump. With a rating of 97.5-98 percent AFUE, the furnace includes a modulating gas valve, inducer, and circulating blower for modulating operation from 35-100 percent input in 100 increments with a nearly constant temperature increase to produce a comfortable living environment.
The furnace can be connected to an Acclimate touchscreen communicating control system using a 4-wire connection bus. This control provides enhanced system diagnostics for the contractor and easy adjustment of the blower and continuous fan operation, humidification, and/or dehumidification for homeowners.
During service calls and installation, contractors will find that the doors on the furnace are fully gasketed and that view ports assist with routine maintenance and troubleshooting. Built-in high-level self-diagnostics and a fault code display provide additional assistance during inspections and help contractors diagnose problems.
The furnace includes quarter-turn door knobs and a fully supported slide-out blower assembly that provides easy access and simplifies blower removal, said the company. The internal condensate trap design provides condensate management options and is self-priming to prevent nuisance issues.
The M1200 PGC2MQ iQ Drive fully modulating gas furnace continuously adjusts its heat output to match the needs of the home, allowing a more uniform mix of air and improved air filtration. This 97 percent efficient furnace analyzes the indoor temperature every 60 seconds and adjusts its percentage of firing accordingly — from 50-100 percent with the gas valve and down to 15 percent with time proportioning through the thermostat. The quiet motor is encased in an insulated cabinet for ultimate sound reduction, while iSEER® technology can boost the cooling efficiency of a 13 or 14 SEER outdoor unit by up to 1 SEER point.
In the field, contractors will appreciate the easy installation and servicing of these furnaces, noted the company, which include the iQ Drive thermostat with diagnostic capabilities, as well as the following features:
• Diagnostic lights for easy troubleshooting without counting ﬂashes. A dedicated light for ﬂame signal strength, and two lights in combination, indicate all other fault codes with easy-to-recognize states;
• Integrated control board with connections for electronic air cleaner and humidiﬁer;
• Two-piece door design that enhances furnace appearance and uses captured screws to prevent losing door screws; and
• SmartStart technology, which is an innovative application of an appliance-type hot surface igniter.
The F9MAE gas furnace features a modulating gas valve, a variable-speed ECM blower motor, and efficiencies up to 98 percent AFUE. Additional features of these furnaces include:
• Sealed blower compartment and insulated heat exchanger and blower compartments to muffle sound and absorb vibration noise;
• A height of only 35 inches for easier installation in tight places, as well as a rotating inducer elbow for easy set up. The four-way multi-position design includes downflow installation with pipes routed inside the cabinet. A new condensate trap stays inside the furnace in all positions. Cabinet and door edges are folded and hemmed for easier handling;
• Large, one-quarter turn knobs for easy door installation and removal. A redesigned sight glass and a super bright LED make diagnostic flash codes easier to read. The blower assembly is mounted on rails for easy, upfront installation and removal; and
• Xtra SEER high-efficiency ECM blower motors, which can deliver increased cooling efficiencies that translate into higher SEER ratings when paired with select condensing units and evaporator coils.
This furnace meets low NOx emissions standards and is available in heating capacities from 40-120 MBtuh and cooling capacities from 1.5-5 tons.
The Affinity™ YP9C modulating gas-fired furnace features a 97.5-98 percent AFUE rating, as well as a modulating gas valve, inducer, and circulating blower for modulating operation from 35-100 percent input in 100 increments with a nearly constant temperature increase.
The unit can be installed with diagnostics that transmit fault codes, thanks to the Affinity touchscreen communicating control system, which uses a 4-wire connection bus. The control also provides easy adjustment of the blower and continuous fan operation and humidification and/or dehumidification for homeowners. The furnace can also be incorporated into a hybrid comfort system by pairing it with a York heat pump.
Installation is enhanced by easy access to the unit’s controls when connecting the power or control wiring, noted the company. The units can be applied in upflow, horizontal left or right, or downflow positions, with minimal conversion necessary. When conversion is required, a solid, removable bottom panel and a rotating inducer make the task easier. The furnace also lacks knockouts, while movable duct connector flanges contribute to application flexibility.
A fully supported slide-out blower assembly provides easy access to the blower and simplifies blower removal, while quarter-turn knobs offer easy removal of the fully gasketed doors (which also include view ports).
Publication date: 12/2/2013