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What’s the Difference Between Single Stage, Two-Stage and Variable Speed Furnaces?

What's the Difference Between Single Stage, Two-Stage and Variable Speed Furnaces?If you’ve decided it’s time to replace your older furnace, it’s important to investigate the latest heating technology so you can maximize your home comfort and save money. You’ve probably heard the terms single stage, two-stage and variable speed in reference to furnaces, but you may not know exactly what they mean. Let’s explore the differences between the three:

Single Stage Furnaces

These basic furnaces have a single operating speed – high. Whenever they cycle on, they run at full speed, regardless of the temperature outside. Their full-on operation can result in higher energy bills, because they’ll cycle on and off frequently to adequately warm your living space during a cold snap, but can waste energy by overheating your home when a Chinook blows in.

Two-Stage Furnaces

These furnaces offer both low and high heating stages. A two-stage furnace will start off on the lower speed, and will remain there as long as it’s able to heat your home. When temperatures drop and more heat is needed to satisfy your thermostat setting, it will ramp up to the higher speed. Two-stage furnaces operate on low up to 75 percent of the time, and run for longer periods. This means you’ll see fewer temperature fluctuations, more even heat distribution throughout your home, and energy savings, especially during milder weather.

Variable Speed Furnaces

The term “variable speed” actually refers to the unit’s blower motor. This is the critical component that controls the amount of warm air that arrives at your heating registers. Variable speed motors feature built-in intelligent technology, so they can make continuous airflow adjustments to compensate for longer ducting runs, a dirty air filter, closed registers or ductwork restrictions. They’ll keep your furnace operating at peak efficiency and protect key components from excess wear and tear, while using up to six times less energy than a single speed blower. You’ll enjoy a more comfortable living environment too, no matter what the outdoor temperature.

To learn more about single stage, two-stage and variable speed furnaces, contact us today at Arpi’s Industries. We’ve proudly served the Calgary area for more than 50 years.

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 furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock