If you’re shopping for a new furnace for your San Diego area home, one feature you’ll definitely want to consider is multi-stage, multi-speed operation. Specifically, look for a two-stage furnace that operates with a variable-speed blower motor. A multi-stage, variable-speed furnace adjusts its operating level to the current needs in your home, saving energy, running quieter, and providing more balanced heating.
How Does a Variable-Speed Furnace Work?
Variable-speed blowers – which can operate in both furnaces and A/Cs or heat-pump air handlers – use an ECM (electronically commutated motor) that runs more efficiently than a standard blower motor. Its ability to adjust its running speed to current needs in your home means that unless it’s very cold outside, the motor will operate at a slower, more continuous speed. With our mild Southern California winters, your furnace likely won’t need to operate at full-speed except on rare occasions.
How Does Continuous Operation Save Energy?
Most furnace blowers use the most energy when they kick on and work to achieve the thermostat setting. With a traditional single-speed blower motor, the furnace will short-cycle during cold weather, starting and quickly achieving the set temperature, and then shutting down till the next cycle starts. A variable-speed furnace, however, will run continuously at a lower level, avoiding those energy-wasting starts-and-stops. The greater intrinsic efficiency of an ECM also save on energy.
The continuous operation of a variable-speed blower also ensures better air filtration and whole-house humidity control than a single-speed blower. Air that’s continuously circulating passes through your air filter and whole-house humidifier many more times than with a single-speed, short-cycling furnace.
Multi-stage combustion offered in a two- or multi-stage furnace also saves on energy. Most of the time, the furnace will operate at about 65 percent capacity, and will only ramp up to 100 percent during especially cold weather. Operating at a lower level, with a lower fan speed, is also much quieter than a standard single-speed, one-stage furnace.
To discuss outfitting your San Diego area home with a two-stage, variable-speed furnace, please contact us today at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air.