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Should You Upgrade Your Single-Stage Furnace?

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For years, most homes had one type of heater: a single-stage furnace. And so far, your single-stage has done a great job keeping your home warm in the depths of winter's deep freeze. However, your friends have been talking about upgrading their single-stage units with two-stage furnaces. Should you follow suit or stick to your old reliable heater?

Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage

Single-stage furnaces are the most basic type of furnace. Its functions are limited to either "on and running full speed" or "off." As a result, single-stage units don't moderate the amount of heat produced. By contrast, two-stage furnaces use a series of complex thermostats to carefully control the level of heat produced and operate in longer, but slower, heating cycles than single-stage furnaces.

Advantages of a Single-Stage Furnace

The "full speed ahead" nature of a single-stage furnace makes it useful for quickly warming small homes or apartments. A two-stage furnace simply doesn't have the capacity to produce such high levels of heat in such a short period. Single-stage furnaces are also cheaper: two-stage furnaces cost about $500 more to purchase and install. As a result, single-stage furnaces are perfect for homeowners on a budget.

Disadvantages of a Single-Stage Furnace

The biggest disadvantage of a single-stage furnace is the high levels of heat it produces. As soon as the temperature dips a little too low, your single-stage will kick in and pump high heat through your home. As a result, it may be too warm for your taste.

Two-stage furnaces avoid that problem by running at lower capacity for longer periods of time, sometimes as little as 65-75% capacity. These longer running times may not produce as much heat, but they decrease furnace noise and even help increase the efficiency of your air filter.

Final Verdict

Choosing to upgrade depends a lot on your home heating needs. The full-blast heating method of a single-stage is inefficient in larger homes because it heats the area around the thermostat too quickly and leaves distant rooms chilly. Two-stage units slowly warm a home and distribute heat more efficiently throughout a larger area.

So, if you have a smaller home or enjoy highly-concentrated heat, you probably don't need to upgrade. However, if your home has a high number of rooms and multiple levels, you should probably invest in an upgrade. Talk to a heating installation expert, such as West Country Heating & AC, to choose the two-stage furnace that's right for you.