In some cases, major innovations can come from upgrades to common products. This is certainly true of the two-stage furnace, an energy-saving new take on an old concept. At Simmons Heating & Cooling, we recommend two-stage heating for many homes. Here is some information about how it can help you in your Chesapeake area home.
Variable Power Settings
The key to two-stage heating is variable power settings. These variable power settings allow a furnace or a heat pump to produce different volumes of heated air to distribute throughout your home. For example, many two-stage furnaces from Simmons Heating & Cooling run at 70% of their capacity during normal conditions and 100% of their capacity during extreme conditions. As you can imagine, when a furnace is using less power to do the same task, your utility bill will ultimately be lower as well.
How Does a Typical Furnace Operate?
To understand the advantages of variable power settings, it’s important to understand the basics of how a typical furnace operates. A typical furnace only has two settings: “off” and “on.” This means that whenever heat is required, the furnace will operate at its full heating capacity. Thus, whether your furnace uses electricity, natural gas, or some other fuel source, it’s using the maximum amount of fuel at all times.
The only time a typical furnace stops using energy is when the desired temperature has been achieved and the furnace turns off completely. The higher fan settings and heating capacities required by a typical furnace will almost always result in a higher utility bill.
How Does Lower Capacity Heating Operate?
In a two-stage furnace or heat pump from Simmons Heating & Cooling, the equipment will typically operate at its lower capacity setting. That’s because, aside from days with extremely cold temperatures, you typically don’t require sudden, dramatic temperature changes in your home. The exception to this is if you have a nighttime or away setting on your thermostat and then switch to a warmer daytime or home setting. During the time your home heats to this new temperature, the high setting will be on and then return to the lower temperature setting to resume the temperature.
If you’ve always used a single-stage furnace or heat pump, though, you may be surprised to learn that the lower-capacity setting on a two-stage unit actually causes the unit to run for longer periods. Given the focus on running single-stage units as little as possible, this may seem counterproductive.
However, it’s important to understand that moving air throughout your home actually uses very little energy. It’s changing the temperature of the air that requires the most energy. Therefore, even if a unit runs for longer, it can still be more efficient if its heating capacity isn’t fully ramped up.
Are There Other Benefits to Two-Stage Heating Units?
While lower energy usage is certainly a significant benefit of two-stage heating units, it’s good to know there are other benefits of these units as well. For example, since your two-stage unit will typically have longer operating cycles than a single-stage unit, your system will be able to remove more contaminants from the air as it pulls air through the filter. Therefore, you can enjoy cleaner, fresher air and potentially fewer allergy symptoms.
Another benefit of a two-stage unit is that’s it’s quieter than a comparable single-stage unit. Since less air is being pushed through the vents in your home, you’ll usually barely notice your system is running. Therefore, if you regularly do tasks that require a quiet environment, you’ll appreciate the upgrade to a two-stage heating unit. Plus, with warm air consistently blowing through your home, you’ll be treated to more consistent temperatures and fewer cold spots.
As HVAC technology continues to advance, many companies now produce heating units that go beyond basic two-stage operation. Variable-speed units are the latest and most efficient units on the market, offering multiple operational speeds to ensure your unit can custom-tailor the heat that’s produced to the current conditions in your home.
If you’re willing to invest more in a variable-speed unit, you can experience significant energy savings over the life of the unit. It’s important to note, though, that the increased complexity of a variable-speed unit may sometimes result in higher repair and maintenance costs.
Always on Your Side
The men and women at Simmons Heating & Cooling pledge to always be on your side to help you with your home comfort needs. Whether it’s two-stage heating unit installation, air conditioner repair and maintenance, or generator installation, we can take care of you. With over 55 years in the industry, you can count on our family-owned business to get the job done right. That’s why we’re able to maintain a Better Business Bureau accreditation and continuously receive five-star reviews. For more information on keeping your home comfortable this winter, give us a call at Simmons Heating & Cooling today.