Gas furnaces are one of the most common types of central heating units for residential properties, and for good reason. They offer faster and more even heating than their electric counterparts, and depending on local prices, can be cheaper to operate as well. There are three main types of gas furnaces available on the market, each of which performs the same function but operates in a slightly different way from one another and thus confers a different set of benefits onto your home. Understanding the differences between these types of furnaces can help you choose the best one for your home heating needs.
Single Stage Furnaces
Single stage furnaces are the most common type of gas furnace available on the market, largely because they are also the most affordable variant. They operate very simply: they turn on when the temperature drops below a certain level, and turn off once it reaches the thermostat's settings. This is what most people expect from a furnace, but it comes with the downside that you have to wait for the temperature to fall before your furnace will turn back on, resulting in significant temperature fluctuations.
Dual Stage Furnaces
Dual stage furnaces work much in the same manner as single stage furnaces, but they have two "on" positions. The first is the same as a single stage furnace: they will provide as much heat as possible to hit the setting on the thermostat. The second stage is a reduced heating level that is designed to maintain the temperature within your home. This eliminates the fluctuations that can plague single stage furnaces and also helps save energy, since dual stage furnaces will not always be operating at peak capacity.
Modulating furnaces have a computer-controlled heating element that allows for the furnace to adjust itself constantly to maintain a temperature level within your home that is as close to consistent as possible. There won't be any fluctuations in the temperature within your home unless you open the windows or doors. Modulating furnaces are the most energy-efficient type of gas furnaces, which can save you money over time. However, keep in mind that modulating furnaces are much more expensive than dual or single stage furnaces, and the increased complexity of the thermostat and heating element also mean that maintenance and repairs will be most costly in the long run as well – meaning that these types of furnaces are only ideal for properties that require consistent temperatures.
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