man putting new air filter in furnace

Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage vs. Modulating Furnaces: Which Is Right For You?

Has your furnace been giving you hints that it’s ready to retire? If so, now is the perfect time to start looking for the ideal replacement to install in your home. There are a lot of brands on the market, so narrowing down your choices can seem overwhelming at first. However, it can be helpful if you start by looking at the three basic furnace types:

  • Single-Stage
  • Two-Stage
  • Modulating

Below, we’ll give you a basic overview of each of these furnace types, along with their pros and cons. This will give you an idea of what you should consider before purchasing and installing one of these furnaces.

Single-Stage Furnaces: Most Affordable, Least Efficient

A single-stage furnace is the most basic type of furnace available, and that makes it the most affordable type of the three we’re discussing here. It operates at one speed, thus the label “single-stage.” Basically, this furnace is either running, or it’s off. If you own a smaller, single-story home, generally, it isn’t necessary to get a furnace much more advanced than this.

Single-stage furnaces can fall short in two areas: even heating and energy savings. While these aren’t usually issues in smaller homes, they can become problems in larger, two-story homes.

Because the furnace can only run at full speed or not at all, it may warm up certain areas of your home much faster than others and then shut off before the warm air has been evenly distributed. Additionally, the equipment will require full power whenever it’s operating, with no option for a low-power mode that saves energy.

Two-Stage Furnaces: Mid-Range Price, Improved Efficiency

Two-stage furnaces are a step above single-stage furnaces in terms of price and efficiency. While they do cost more, they have the potential to create a more comfortable environment and lower your energy costs.

Two-stage furnaces can run at two different power levels: low power and high power. When you’re home is really cold, the furnace will run at high power for a little while before switching to low power to save energy and warm your home more evenly.

If you own a larger, multi-story home, or if you own a sprawling single-story home with a lot of hot and cold spots, the higher price of a two-stage furnace can be worth the lower energy bills and improved comfort.

Modulating Furnaces: Highest Price, Most Efficient

No furnace can provide better energy savings and control over your home’s temperature than a modulating model. This furnace type can run at varying speeds to provide the most precise temperature control possible as efficiently as possible. The biggest downside to installing a modulating furnace is the upfront cost of the equipment.

If you’re on the fence about installing a modulating furnace, there are a few things to consider before making the purchase:

  • How long will you be staying in your current home? A modulating furnace will bring you massive savings over time, but you won’t reap the benefits if you’ll be moving in just a couple of years. If you’ll be moving soon, opt for a single- or two-stage model. If not, the modulating model could be a sound investment.
  • How well has your current furnace warmed your home? Of course, an extremely old furnace is probably not performing well anymore, but try to remember your furnace in its prime. Was it never able to warm your home evenly? Would it have to run for long cycles? Would it shut off too soon? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, a modulating furnace might be right for you, especially if your home is large and sprawling or multi-storied.
  • Has your furnace always cost you a fortune to operate? If keeping your home comfortable through the years has always resulted in enormous energy bills, then an upgrade to a more efficient furnace type could be advantageous.

Furnace Installation in Arlington, TX

Furnace installations involve other factors, such as correct sizing and compatibility with other aspects of your home and HVAC system. When you get a quote for a new furnace with Tom's Mechanical, Inc., we will take the time to understand what’s important to you and to provide you with options that will benefit you in the long run. Schedule your quote by calling us today at (972) 388-3669. We look forward to serving you!

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