What’s the Best Type of Furnace to Install?
It’s a question that you never typically envision yourself asking, as you scroll through countless articles on Google. Should you go for the ritzy modulating furnace, or should you stick with the bare-bones single stage? Ultimately, the decision will completely depend on your application, as well as your budget.
To help you with this decision, we’ve broken down the different types of furnaces currently available on the market, so you can feel better informed when going through your next furnace replacement.
Single Stage Furnace
A single-stage furnace has two settings. The thermostat in the house calls for heat, signaling to the furnace to turn on at full power. It will run at full capacity until the home reaches the desired temperature noted on the thermostat, and then it will shut itself off.
The furnace will run like this in cycles, so you get a somewhat uneven het throughout the house. You will be hit with blasts of warm air that will give you temporary comfort, but it doesn’t do a great job of maintaining that comfort. Because of this, a single stage furnace is not very energy efficient, but is the most affordable option to purchase.
2 Stage Furnace
When you start to heat your home, a 2 stage furnace will come on at 60% of its heating capacity for the first 10 or so minutes. When you need higher heat output to bring the house up to temperature quickly, the second heating stage will kick in and run at 100% capacity.
The 2 stage furnace is considerably quieter, and generates more even heat throughout your home. The longer, slower heating cycle eliminates the rapid warming that many people find uncomfortable from single stage furnaces. The longer cycle also provides better air filtration because the air cycles through the furnace filter more times in a day. Air quality can be improved further if the two-stage furnaces has a humidifier attached.
This is the unit we recommend for most households, as it provides a perfect balance of increased home comfort, high efficiency operation, low noise levels, and long term value.
A modulating furnace is the most expensive type of furnace, as it has complicated electronic components embedded in it. It runs in very precise increments when heating your home: it starts at 40% heat capacity and increasing by 1% as needed to heat your home. Becayse they can manage temperature so precisely in your home, they usually run continuosly at a very low setting. This makes the modulating furnace an ideal unit for homes with zoning applications.
The temperature in every room of the house remains consistent because of this continuous operation; the air isn’t blasting then settling over and over.
Modulating furnaces can achieve up to 98% efficiency, meaning 98% of the fuel that goes into the system returns as heat. But, being the most efficient and highest performing type of furnace also means they are the most expensive.
Some Education on Airflow:
When taking into consideration what type of furnace to purchase, homeowners should note the different types of air flow available with furnaces on the market:
Downflow furnaces collect cold air from the top and generate warm air from the bottom. These units are typically installed in the attic or upper level of a home, with the ductwork distributed beneath the unit.
These units generate heat by collecting air from the bottom of the furnace unit and then pushing it out through the top. These units are installed in the basement of a residence.
Horizontal furnaces act like a tube, pulling air in from one side and propelling it out the opposite side. The warm air may come from the left side or the right side, depending on the model. Because these units aren’t very tall, they can be installed in small areas and are a great way to save on space.
Universal units, or multipurpose units, are customizable and can have downflow, upflow, or horizontal configurations depending on how they are installed.
There are many factors to consider when making this important investment that could last you upwards of 20 years. If you’re installing a furnace in your ‘forever home’, you might want to spend a bit more money on a modulating or 2-stage furnace.