What is the Difference Between Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Modulating Furnaces?

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What is the Difference Between Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Modulating Furnaces?

Posted On: January 8, 2020

What is the Difference Between Single-Stage, Two-Stage, and Modulating Furnaces?

When you are looking around for a new furnace, you will come across three different types: single-stage, two-stage and modulating. You may probably ask, what are the differences between them, and which one is right for your home?

In this article, we will explain the differences between them and help you decide which furnace works best for you and your family.

Single-Stage Furnaces

Single-stage furnaces only have one setting, which is high heat. On a call for heat, they immediately start running at full capacity, no matter what the temperature is outside until the signal coming from the thermostat is turned off. These types of furnaces are best suited for budget-conscious consumers, so in the long run, the upfront cost savings are not realized.

Two-Stage Furnaces

A two-stage gas furnace has two settings, high fire and low fire, and here is how it works. Most of the time, on a typical heating cycle the furnace will start out running on low fire, consuming less gas and electricity, while at the same time providing heat and gaining inefficiency. After approximately 7- 10 minutes of operation, the furnace begins to operate very efficiently because it is fully warmed up. Then, it will jump up into high fire and finish out the heating cycle at full capacity. Control of the high and low burner timing are made by the installers, as part of a new furnace installation.

You could also control the 2 stage burner by using a 2 stage thermostat, the effect of either is similar. Two-stage furnaces are considered more energy-efficient than single-stage because they are not always running at a full heating capacity of the appliance and are often equipped with an ECM blower motor which will also save on your electricity costs.

Modulating Furnaces

Modulating gas furnaces are at the top end of the gas furnace spectrum and are considered to be the most energy-efficient of the three. But, at an added price over two-stage or single-stage furnaces. Heating from a modulating furnace ramps up in increments to maintain a consistent temperature and the ductwork is always warmed up so there is a little efficiency lost during the warming up process.

When buying a modulating furnace you will almost always need to invest in a new thermostat controller specifically designed for this type of furnace in order to get the most out of it. Always ask your salesman about this option, as it is often not mentioned (due to the added cost of the new thermostat). If you are planning to stay in your home for the long-term, a modulating gas furnace may be the right fit for you.

When you want to buy a new furnace, you should always consult your local HVAC experts before making a decision. A trained HVAC technician can come to your home, go over your situation with you and help you decide which furnace best suits your home.

When you are ready for a new furnace, contact the Twintech experts! Our technicians are experienced and knowledgeable in all types of furnaces and HVAC systems.

For more information about our services, visit our website or give us a call at 1-844-894-6832. Contact Twintech today!


See What Our Customers Are Saying:

by Cibele Ceroni on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Great Team! Furnace broke in the weekend, Bob visited same day and Greg installed new one on Monday. Team was professional, respectful and knowledgeable. Installation went very well, Greg found solutions to challenges, like hiding new conduits in the ceiling. Looks nice and new furnace is working great. Five Stars.

by Jackie Graham on Twintech Heating and Cooling

I used Twintech to install a new furnace for my home. Bob was terrific in explaining the sizing options and why the 2 stage furnace was the best option for me. Greg did a great job installing, clean and on time. Finished work looks great but the best part is how it works. The 2 stage heating is so much more comfortable. I run the fan continuously to keep the indoor air clean. Great investment! Would highly recommendTwintech!

by Anthony Silva on Twintech Heating and Cooling

I’m going to start this by saying I’m a very particular customer. My background is in mathematics and mechanical engineering so I have an eye for detail and a respect for technical knowledge.
Greg had already done an AC inspection and replaced a water heater tank and there was no question in my mind who to deal with replacing my rickety old furnace after it got pooched.
Bob dropped in ahead of time and clearly (and knowledgeably) outlined all technical, price and operational options.
Greg showed up on time, on the agreed date and did a fantastic job. (The OLD furnace was a house of horrors and was installed in a keystone cops sort of way- careless.)
The work Greg did was HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL and FAR MORE FUNCTIONAL than what I had.
I’m also a musician with many instruments so maintaining predictable humidity/temperature is extremely important to me. Greg recognized this as did Bob. You NEVER feel like you’re being brushed off.
In summary, if you’re looking for PROFESSIONAL, QUALITY results by an EXPERIENCED, THOUGHTFUL team
(that also happen to be FRIENDLY and ATTENTIVE ) then you’ve come to the right page!!

by Karen Morgan on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Once again Twin Tech came through and fixed my furnace. A young man by the name of Mitch came by tonight and he was so nice explained everything he was quick he was clean he turned off the lights even when he left the furnace room it’s just above and beyond Twin Tech always delivers and I just found out about them last year and I will use no one else but thanks again Mitch you are fantastic

by Richard Liu on Twintech Heating and Cooling

I had a problem with the Furnace (Armstrong ultra V) and Greg diagnosed it on the phone. Even told me what the issue was and I was able to fix it. This level of service from a Business that is almost unknown today.

If you require service, reach out to Greg. I will definitely use them in the future!

by Tony Forde on Twintech Heating and Cooling

We have been shopping for a heat pump for our home. We had 3 reps come in and make recommendations and provide a quote. Of the 3, Bob was so clearly so much more qualified, thorough and informed than the other two that the decision was a no brainer. As soon as we get our audit results Twintech will be installing our heat pump.

by Private User, Pickering on Twintech Heating and Cooling

knowledgeable sales person, did not try to up-sell unneeded features,
and was easily contacted to ensure customer satisfaction.
Installation was expertly done by friendly guys, everything explained for use of the products. Old products were removed and returned to rental company as part of the service. Follow up call was received to check all was well. This is my second time using this company as I was fully satisfied with my previous air conditioning unit installation

by Private User, Courtice on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Twintech recently installed a new furnace for me. Bob did a great job assessing what I had and needed. All details well explained including the importance of proper sizing of furnace and the value of multi stage heating and the variable speed blower. As a nurse, indoor air quality is a high priority so the variable speed motor running continuous is so good. 24/7 air cleaning. Greg did a great job on install, attention to detail so appreciated. Already notice such an improved comfort and heat. Thank you Twintech! You come as advertised. I will recommend to anyone in need of heating or cooling!

by Walter, Whitby on Twintech Heating and Cooling

We received various quotes from 4 different companies and right away, the prompt and thorough communication from Bob from TwinTech stood out. He introduced himself, sent sample sites and information, and always confirmed any agreed to dates and times.

Bob was friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the topic of HVAC and it was clear he was passionate about his profession. He approached the job as if he was installing in his own home.

Prior to the new furnace & A/C installation, our old units were loud and inefficient - having several rooms feeling too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. After installing the recommended units, all rooms stay at a consistent temperature- even the finished basement.

I highly recommend the TwinTech team - just an outstanding job at a reasonable price point.

by Private User on Twintech Heating and Cooling

The experience with Twintech was great from the start. Bob the sales manager was friendly and professional and did not use any pressure tactics. He was very knowledgeable.
The installation was completed by the twin owners in about 6-7 hours. Clean quiet easy going didn't mind when I poked my head in to see progress. Highly recommend

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