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What’s the Difference Between Single-Stage & Two-Stage Furnaces?

With Portland winter on the horizon, this is the perfect time to consider your current home heating and cooling system. If you find yourself wearing extra layers of clothing, or covering yourself up with blankets in the evening to stay warm, then it might be time to upgrade your single-stage furnace to a two-stage furnace.

HVAC System Heating Options

Searching for the best heating units can seem daunting, but knowing a few basic facts and functions about furnace types can have you feeling like an expert in no time! As a Portland homeowner, the two main heating units you should familiarize yourself with are single-stage and two-stage furnaces. Each have their benefits, and their downsides, so it’s important to examine both types of units to determine which is right for your home.

What’s the Difference Between Single-Stage & Two-Stage Furnaces

Our HVAC contractors in the Portland metro area know that not all heating units are created equal. We’ve outlined the differences between the two furnace options to help inform your decision.

Defining Single-Stage and Two-Stage Furnaces

With so many furnace and HVAC system options, it’s best to narrow down your choice by becoming familiar with the varieties available.

What is single-stage heating? single stage heating image

A single-stage heating unit is comprised of a single-speed blower motor and a fixed gas valve. Due to this design, a single-stage furnace is either on, running at full capacity, or turned off. Once the home temperature aligns with the thermostat setting, the furnace completely shuts off.

What is two-stage heating?

Unlike a single-stage heating unit, a two-stage furnace offers two levels of heating output: high for frigid temperatures and low for milder temps. 80 percent of the time, the lower setting is sufficient for most Portland home heating needs. This beneficial feature, unique to two-stage furnaces, gives homeowners the flexibility to run their furnace at a lower setting during the warmer parts of the day, which can reduce heating costs.

two-stage heating imageHow does two-stage heating work?

When outside temperatures are lower, typically in the evening or early mornings, the high burner cycle will quickly heat up your home. Once the ideal temp is achieved, the furnace lowers its setting to maintain and regulate the home’s climate.

Want to learn more about residential heating options and discover some pro tips? We’re here to help. We invite you to visit the resources on our website.

Pros & Cons of Two-Stage Furnaces & Single-Stage Furnaces

While two-stage heating units can be more expensive, investing in one might help you save on energy costs in the long run. However, a single-stage furnace could be more effective at heating larger homes than a two-stage.

What to know about two-stage furnaces:

  • Pro: a two-stage furnace will save on energy costs by not having to run on high unnecessarily.
  • Pro: two-stage heating provides more consistent and comfortable home temperatures due to its varying speed systems.
  • Con: a two-stage furnace might not be ideal in large homes, as the blower speed might not have the capacity to heat the entire home.
  • Con: two-stage units can cost more money upfront.

What to know about single-stage furnaces:

  • Pro: single-stage units are initially more affordable.
  • Con: single-stage furnaces are less energy-efficient than two-stage units.
  • Con: without the lower fan speed option found on two-stage models, a single-stage unit will produce more noise.
  • Con: a comfortable home climate is hard to achieve because single-stage furnaces struggle to keep a regular temperature.
  • Con: single-stage units suffer more wear and tear on their internal mechanisms because of frequent stops and starts, which can lead to more repair costs.

The Takeaway:

A single-stage furnace could be more effective at heating larger homes than a two-stage. However, for most typical Portland metro home, they are not as energy efficient as two-stage furnaces. Because two-stage heating units offer a homeowner the ability to control the heating settings, there are multiple benefits of investing in one of these furnaces.

If you find yourself having to crank up your single-stage furnace, are tired of annoying fan noise, and have been spending too much money on repairs and replacement parts, then it might be time to look at two-stage furnace options.

Choosing the Right Furnace for Your Portland Home

Still wondering which furnace is the ideal option for your home? Then let one of our HVAC contractors help guide you in the right direction.

With locations in the Portland metro, and Beaverton areas, our team of experts are here to assist your every heating need. In addition to providing professional guidance for your home heating needs, AAA Heating and Cooling can install and service all your HVAC products, plus we provide emergency service and repair. From commercial to residential heating needs, we’ve got you covered!

Contact us today for estimates and product info.