A single stage furnace (or 1-stage furnace) means exactly what you think. The furnace has only 1 setting (high) so whenever it’s operating, it’s running at full capacity-no matter how cold it is outside. A single stage furnace is not as efficient as every time it turns on, it’s working at full blast to produce as much energy as possible.
With a variable speed furnace, the ‘variable speed’ doesn’t refer to the furnace itself but to the furnace’s indoor blower motor. Variable simply means that the blower motor operates at different speeds to more accurately control the flow of heated air to your home. Its advanced technology is able to constantly monitor and adjust its blower settings to account for things in your home that restrict airflow, such as your ductwork, furnace location and even dirty filters.
Being able to constantly adjust the blower motor means your furnace runs much more efficiently than a single stage or 2-stage furnace so you’ll save money and energy. These types of furnaces are also great for zoning, which allows you to set the thermostat on different settings for various parts of your house. Of course, there’s many other benefits to a variable speed furnace so keep reading.
Comfort and efficiency in 1 furnace
A variable speed furnace provides a more consistent comfort as it gets rid of temperature swings. For example, the SLP98V from Lennox has Precise Comfort™ technology that adjusts the fan speed, heat and airflow in increments as small as 1% for the ultimate in temperature control. The variable-capacity function is like cruise control for your furnace’s operation and these automatic adjustments is why this type of furnace delivers maximum fuel efficiency.
You won’t even hear it running
A variable speed furnace is definitely quieter than a 1 or 2 stage furnace. It runs on a lower setting the majority of the time so the amount of heat that’s required is lower (as opposed to being on ‘full blast”) so there’s no big blast of air when it starts up. In addition, the SLP98V from Lennox (mentioned above) uses sound absorbing materials in its construction to further dampen any sound.
Better air quality
Even when the furnace is not on, the motor in a variable speed furnace can be in constant operation so it will circulate the air in your home 24/7. That means there’s more air going through the filter and therefore, more contaminants (bacteria, viruses, and mold spores) are being removed. Compare this to a single or 2-stage furnace that only circulates air when its running and you can see a variable-speed furnace truly does deliver better air quality.
The other advantage to continuous airflow is that since warm air is constantly being redistributed throughout your home, your furnace will not have to operate as often. This results in less energy consumption and lower heating bills for you.
In summary, a variable speed furnace is the cream of the crop when it comes to energy efficient furnaces. While they cost more than other furnaces, they will pay for themselves in the long run. So, now that you know the difference between single stage, 2-stage and variable speed furnaces, you can start shopping for your new furnace.
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