Choosing the right furnace is a very important consideration. After all, a gas furnace is a long-term investment, so it makes sense to make sure you are choosing heating equipment that will heat your home efficiently and reliably. If you’re considering a new furnace you may have come across the term ‘two-stage furnace’ and been left wondering what these systems have to offer and how they differ from traditional furnaces.
In this article, we’ll take a look at two-stage furnaces, the advantages of choosing one, and what they have to offer over other heating systems.
What is a Two-Stage Furnace?
The terms one-stage and two-stage in a heating scenario relate to the burner section inside a furnace and the valve that supplies natural gas or propane to it. One-stage furnaces, also known as single-stage furnaces, are fitted with a valve that opens and closes only. In two-stage heating, there is an additional valve setting known as ‘low fire’. With a two-stage furnace, the furnace starts up in the low-fire setting and runs at around 70% of the full capacity most of the time. It then enters the second stage, known as ‘high fire’ when required. So on milder days, your furnace will run at the lower setting and then switch up to two-stage heating on colder days.
The Benefits of a Two-Stage Furnace
As you may have guessed, a two-stage furnace comes with a higher upfront cost than a one-stage model. However, the benefits more than make up for the extra cost. Here are just some of those benefits. We’d be delighted to tell you more about the advantages of choosing a two-stage furnace and what this type of heating system will bring to your home.
Cost Savings and Improved Efficiency
When you’re investing in a new heating system, it’s important to consider both the upfront cost and the ongoing costs to run your furnace. Two-stage furnaces are more efficient than their one-stage counterparts and will therefore reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint. Two-stage furnaces are more efficient because they don’t release as much gas into the heat exchanger when your home is slightly cold. Instead, your furnace will run in the partially-open ‘low fire’ position and only use 70% of the gas a one-stage furnace would use to heat your home in the fully open position. Less gas equals a lower gas bill for you.
With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy consistent warmth throughout your home. These furnaces eliminate the swings in temperature that are commonly associated with standard furnaces. If you regularly notice cold spots around your home, a two-stage furnace will help eliminate these.
Standard furnaces often kick in suddenly causing a blast of air through your system which in turn causes a humming sound. Because two-stage furnaces start at reduced capacity in the first stage, they don’t reach their full capacity in one go and therefore operate at a much quieter level.
Furnace Face-Off: Two-Stage or One-Stage?
Ultimately, you want a furnace that is going to heat your home efficiently, quickly, and evenly. While the correct size of furnace is critical to avoid problems such as short-cycling, furnace type is also important when it comes to avoiding astronomical energy bills and cold spots.
One-stage furnaces are relatively basic in design and the least expensive to buy. However, their single power mode operation can cause problems when it comes to heating larger or multi-story homes. As these furnaces run at full power immediately, they warm the areas near your HVAC vents quickly. While the rest of your rooms play catchup, your thermostat may sense that your entire house has reached the desired temperature and prematurely shut off your furnace. This results in an uneven temperature throughout your home. To counter cold spots, homeowners often turn up the temperature on their thermostat so that the furnace won’t shut off too early. This might solve the immediate problem but also introduces another one: higher energy costs.
Because of their dual heat modes, two-stage furnaces can even out those cold and hot spots in your home and ensure every room is heated to your desired temperature. And because these furnaces operate on a lower power setting, they expend less energy than a single-stage model and save you money.
Is it Time to Upgrade Your Furnace?
Is your furnace over 15 years old? Is it producing insufficient heat or needing frequent repairs? Here at Metro Air Limited, we’ve been keeping the residents of the GTA warm and cozy for years and we’d be delighted to tell you more about two-stage furnaces and the cost savings they can bring. Arrange a visit with one of our heating experts today and discover the difference a new furnace could make.