We have come a long way in heating since the early days of gathering wood for a fireplace. Nowadays we can be grateful for gas-fired furnaces that provide heat and give us a convenient and efficient means to stay warm.
Furnace technology itself has developed over the years and if yours is approaching the end of its life, you need to consider your options for replacing it.
Types of furnaces
Furnaces can be classified according to their burner operation. There are three main categories: single-stage, two-stage and modulating.
Single stage furnaces are either on or off. When the thermostat temperature drops below the setpoint, the furnace comes on and runs until the temperature reaches the desired level. Then it shuts off until the temperature drops again.
Two stage furnaces operate at partial capacity and full capacity depending on the heating requirements. This allows your furnace to use less energy when less heat is needed. Its efficiency is thus slightly better than that of a single stage furnace.
Modulating furnaces vary the output to match the heating demands. Unlike single stage furnaces, they don’t come on and off every time the temperature drops. They run almost continuously, providing heat in small increments.
This allows for several benefits.
They keep your home at a steady temperature
Single-stage furnaces can vary your home’s temperature by as much as six degrees. So while they are capable of providing the right amount of heat, that heat isn’t always consistent enough to keep you comfortable. You end up shivering as you wait for the furnace to come back on. Modulating furnaces maintain your home’s temperature by providing the right amount of heat on an ongoing basis.
You save energy
Even though modulating furnaces run for longer hours than their single stage counterparts, they use less fuel overall because they’re not running at full capacity every time they come on. Single stage furnaces also consume more energy at startup, further increasing their consumption. Modulating furnaces don’t have that issue as they slowly ramp up and down as needed.
Improved air quality
Having your air flow continuously through your filters allows for cleaner air. While you can choose to keep your fan running continuously for a single stage furnace, it consumes more electricity than the modulating furnace which varies both burner output and fan speed.
If you are considering an upgrade to a modulating furnace, give us a call and we can help you improve your home’s comfort while saving energy.