For home owners looking to install a new furnace, the more you know, the better. For starters, there are three main types of furnaces:
- Single-stage furnaces have one flame setting. When they turn on, they operate at the highest flame setting.
- Double-stage furnaces have two flame settings: high and low.
- Modulating furnaces have incremental settings, so that the room temperature never varies more than 1 or 2 degrees from the thermostat’s target temperature. For comparison, you could experience a 4-6 degree swing in room temperature vs the thermostat temperature with a standard furnace.
Incremental flame settings allow a modulating furnace to satisfy occupants’ comfort needs more closely. While you can choose from any of the three types of furnaces, a modulating furnace will deliver consistent temperature without the temperature variations you may experience with other furnaces. Other benefits include:
In contrast to a standard furnace, a modulating furnace only makes slight operating adjustments to achieve optimum efficiency and comfort. Because the fan in a modulating furnace rarely operates on high, it consumes much less energy than a single or double stage furnace. Modulating furnaces are the very best available in terms of operating efficiency, with a range of Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ranging from 80 to 98 percent. They also potentially use up to 80 percent less electricity to circulate air. When mated with an air conditioner, the HVAC system can effectively reduce humidity, thereby reducing the need to lower the thermostat in the summer months, which leads to more energy savings.
A modulating furnace operates with more finesse than a standard furnace to reduce temperature fluctuations. The continual, lower blower speed means you won’t hear loud rushes of air blowing through your home’s vents, or the noisy stop and start cycles that repeat more frequently with a standard furnace.
With an AFUE rating of up to 98 percent, modulating furnaces use fuel more efficiently than others, thus potentially reducing your energy consumption costs. Thanks to the energy savings, you could expect to recover the extra investment over the furnace’s lifetime.
If the only climate controls in your home are “off” and “high”, you might get uncomfortable quickly. This is how single-stage furnaces operate, blasting air one moment and resting silently the next. This doesn’t happen with the incremental settings found on a modulating furnace. By continually distributing low levels of warm air, a modulating furnace allows each room to maintain a consistent temperature. The constant airflow is great for your indoor air quality, as well.