Which Type of Furnace Should I Get? 

 In Energy Efficiency, Furnaces, Home Comfort, HVAC Systems

The Differences Between Single Stage, Dual Stage, and Variable Furnaces

During Southern Ontario’s frigid winters, your home comfort relies on your furnace’s performance — and while all furnaces heat air, not all are created equal.

In this blog, we’ll examine three different types of furnaces — single stage, dual stage, and variable — to help you decide which is the best option for your home.

Furnace Type Cost Durability Potential Repair Cost Efficiency Cost to Operate
Single Stage $4,000-$5,000 Good Low 96%+ Low
Dual Stage $5,000-$6,000 Good Low to Moderate 96%+ Low
Variable $7,000-$8,000 Good Moderate to High 99% Low

Table comparing the differences between single stage, dual stage, and variable furnaces.

Single Stage Furnaces

A single stage furnace has two settings: off and on. When your thermostat calls for heat, the furnace turns on. It will run at its full capacity until the desired temperature is reached, then shut itself off.

Minimum manufacturing standards in Canada require a single stage furnace to be at least 95% efficient or better. A modern single stage furnace is a great option for heating your home but there is certainly room for improvement.

Is a Single Stage Furnace Right for Me?

Single stage furnaces are the least expensive to purchase. If you are familiar with this type of furnace and are satisfied with its ability to heat your home, you may not need a more advanced model. A single stage furnace can be a good option to heat your home.

Dual Stage Furnaces

A dual stage furnace has three settings: off, first stage (65% of capacity), and second stage (100% of capacity). Most of the time, it will run on the first stage setting. Only when the temperature gets especially cold will the equipment switch to the second stage setting.

These two “on” modes allow dual stage furnaces to reduce temperature fluctuations and heat your entire home more evenly. They are quieter and less disruptive than single stage furnaces since they are not switching on and off as often over the course of the day. A dual stage furnace also tends to help dehumidify your home when paired with an air conditioner better than with a single stage furnace

Is a Dual Stage Furnace Right for Me?

A dual stage furnace’s ability to distribute heat comfortably does come with a higher price tag. While the initial cost might be a drawback, the even heat distribution of a dual stage furnace can make it a great option for heating your home.

Variable Furnaces

Variable furnaces provide homes with more precise temperature control and less dramatic temperature fluctuations than single or even dual stage furnaces. This type of furnace will keep your home within 0.5 degrees of your desired temperature by adjusting its output capacity between 35% and 100% in 1% increments.

Since variable furnaces can manage temperature so precisely in your house, they usually run continuously at a very low setting. The temperature in your home will remain consistent because of this continuous operation.

Is a Variable Furnace Right for Me?

If it seems impossible for your home to reach a consistent, comfortable temperature, you’ll enjoy owning a variable furnace. It will keep your entire home as close to your ideal temperature as possible. Being the most efficient and highest performing type of furnace means that they are the most expensive. You’ll get the most out of a variable furnace if you plan on staying in your current home long enough to benefit from the increased comfort.

The Bottom Line

There is no general rule to help you decide which type of furnace is right for you — it will depend on several factors: your budget, the size and layout of your home, how long you intend to live there, and your home’s unique heating challenges.

At Bryan’s Fuel, we can help you determine the best option for your needs and provide professional installation. Contact us online today or give us a call at 226-444-3937.

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