Several decades ago, most furnaces worked about the same way. They either turned on and generated heat, or they turned off and did not generate any heat. These days, many homeowners do still have furnaces that work this way, but there is also another type of furnace available: the multi-stage furnace. Depending on your home layout and a few other factors, a multi-stage furnace might be a better choice for you than a standard, single-stage furnace.
What is a multi-stage furnace?
A multi-stage furnace does not just off and on at one level. Rather, it has two settings—one where it releases about 50% of the heat it is capable of generating, and a second where it releases 100% of the heat it is capable of generating.
When the temperature only needs to go up a few degrees, such as when it's 60 or 64 degrees outside, the furnace will run on its lower stage. When it's freezing cold outside or your home needs to be brought up further in temperature, the furnace will run on its higher stage.
What are the advantages of a multi-stage furnace?
A multi-stage furnace is more energy-efficient than a single-stage one in most homes. This is especially the case in more moderate climates in which the furnace will run on its lower stage most of the time. Since less heat needs to be generated, the furnace consumes less fuel.
Multi-stage furnaces also tend to keep homes at a more even temperature. They're less prone to heating a home past the desired furnace setting since the furnace will generally run on lower power as your home approaches the setting on your thermostat. Plus, when the temperature outside is mild, the furnace will run longer on its lower stage than a single-stage furnace would run. This longer heating time gives the heat more time to distribute, so you don't get as many hot spots.
When is a multi-stage furnace not a good buy?
A multi-stage furnace may not be necessary in smaller home. While one certainly would not do a poor job of heating your smaller home, small homes don't generally have uneven heating issues like larger homes. Plus, it takes less energy to heat a smaller home, so your energy savings with a multi-stage furnace would not be so significant.
To learn more about multi-stage furnaces and the possibility of a furnace installation, talk to an HVAC contractor in your area. They can recommend certain models and better describe how this appliance may benefit you personally.