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Discover How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works

Discover How a Variable-Speed Furnace WorksMost of us grew up in households with furnaces that repeatedly kicked on and off all day long, and accepted that as the way the furnace was supposed to work. Maybe so, but it was a big energy waster, considering that the most energy is consumed during the startup of a furnace than any other time. Plus that continual start-and-stop cycling is loud and doesn’t do a great job of evenly heating a home. The good news is that increasingly, modern homes are equipped with furnaces that operate with variable speeds and stages of operation. Find out how a variable-speed furnace blower can improve your home heating (and cooling in the summer).

A variable-speed furnace is typically equipped with a new, more-efficient type of blower motor, the electronically commutated motor (ECM). With this technology, the furnace ramps up gradually to satisfy the temperature setting, and then adjusts its speed to match conditions in the home, usually operating continuously at a low speed. The slower speed uses less electricity and fuel, places less stress on furnace components, operates more quietly, and tends to provide more balanced heating. They cost less to operate and tend to last longer before repairs are needed.

Variable-speed furnace operation also provides superior air filtration and humidity control. This is because with the continuous operation, air is constantly moving through the furnace’s air filter, along with any whole-house humidifier (or dehumidifier) or air cleaner.

Often, variable-speed furnace blowers work in tandem with two- or multi-stage combustion furnaces. Instead of only operating at just one level, with the gas valve open all the way, or 100 percent, a two-stage furnace has a second level of operation, around 65 percent. This means the gas valve is only partway open. For most home heating needs, a lower stage is all that’s necessary. As with a variable-speed blower motor, the lower stage uses less energy and places less stress on sensitive furnace components.

To further discuss the benefits of a two-stage, variable-speed furnace, please contact us at Arpi’s Industries Ltd. We provide quality HVAC services in the Calgary area. 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about variable-speed furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.

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