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For homeowners looking to reduce their utility bills, two-stage furnaces represent the pinnacle of achievement in home heating technology.
While the initial investment is a bit more than required to purchase a standard model furnace, two-stage furnaces function so smoothly and efficiently that in the long run they’re an absolute bargain at any price.
What sets the two-stage furnace apart from standard models is its dual-stage burner. Traditional furnaces have single-stage burners that always operate at full throttle, while two-stage furnaces burners can switch back and forth between high- and low-stage heat production, depending on the workload load they’re expected to carry.
When indoor temperatures are several degrees lower than desired, two-stage furnaces will fire up at high intensity, heating your living spaces as quickly as possible. But after completing this task they switch to low-stage/maintenance mode, producing just enough heat to keep your home in the comfort zone.
To add even more flexibility and efficiency, many two-stage furnaces feature variable-speed blowers, which can increase (or decrease) the furnace’s rate of heat distribution throughout the home depending on how cold it is outside.
In comparison to traditional furnaces, two-stage furnaces offer:
Two-stage furnaces operate longer than single-stage furnaces. But they run at the low burner setting 90 percent of the time, where reductions in energy consumption more than offset the extra running time.
More balanced temperatures.
Single-stage furnaces shut on and off frequently, in response to sudden temperature drops. But two-stage furnaces stay in low-intensity maintenance mode most of the time, and as a result, temperatures in the home never fall more than one or two degrees below the thermostat setting.
Fuel combustion is a relatively noisy process. But when burners shift to low-stage operation they burn more quietly. If the two-stage furnace includes a variable-speed blower, that will run more quietly on lower settings as well.
Enhanced air quality.
The longer a furnace runs, the more air it will circulate through its intake vents, where air filters are waiting to remove dust, dirt, pollen, chemical traces and other irritants and allergens that can compromise the health of a home’s residents.
It’s the same principle as with the air filter: a longer running furnace means a longer running humidifier, and that can be invaluable in the heart of winter when the air tends toward dryness.
Long-term savings on energy costs.
Two-stage furnaces cost more to purchase and install than traditional models. But factoring in their 20-25 percent fuel efficiency advantage, and assuming a normal lifespan of about 20 years, the extra cost will be more than erased by the cumulative energy savings.
In cold climates, where furnaces face heavy wintertime usage, a two-stage furnace may be well worth the investment.
If you’re in the market for a new furnace, two-stage or otherwise, please contact ABE Heating and Cooling today. We’re the premier HVAC retailer in the Denver Metro area, and we offer a complete line of superior heating products from Ruud, one of the most prestigious names in the HVAC industry.