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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!




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See What Our Customers Are Saying:

by Bill Grainger on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Just had a new furnace installed by Twintech. I can’t express how great these guys are at what they do. From the sales to installation they were professional all the way. Very reasonable pricing and courteous during the installation and willing to answer any questions I had. Highly recommended !!!

by Colin Vernon on Twintech Heating and Cooling

They've cleaned my furnace a couple of times and mentioned that the hot water tank standards were going to change soon so I decided to change mine out.

There were a few challenges during the process but the installers handled the problems without missing a stride! I now have really hot water again!

by Heidi B on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Highly recommend Twintech Heating company, we got honest and detailed information on what was needed to replace and install a new gas furnace. Bob and Greg made us feel comfortable withe process through their thorough explanation and knowledge of the right furnace for our needs. The professionalism and courteous friendly attitude towards the customer is what we liked the most as they treated us like family. So happy with our decision and new furnace we will be looking into get our rental water heater replaced and installed by Twintech team. We feel better having their knowledge on our side and will only trust them with any further maintenance of furnace.

by Kirushanth Rasiah on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Customer service and knowledge is priority in this industry, and Twintech has it. I've dealt with their team for maintenance and a furnace replacement. They're accommodating and make great recommendations, and came through at a great price over the big guys in the industry. They'll be my next call when I need service or maintenance.

by Leonard Glass on Twintech Heating and Cooling

I decided that the noises and age of the existing furnace which was old and not very efficient to replace it. Gave Greg a call and Grant and Greg got to work on it. Because of supply issues with the current heating type that would be an easier install Greg convinced me to change the location of the system and it would provide me better service for heat and efficiency. I had skeptical but went ahead anyway putting trust in Greg And Grant. Greg, Grant and Mitch came through and in 2 days had completely relocated my heating and A/C system. I can honestly say Greg was right my old house has been warmer and more evenly heated as it ever was. For anyone reading this rather long winded review can take my word for it, Twin Tech can take care of your needs.

by Nicole Alain on Twintech Heating and Cooling

I called Twin Tech when my air conditioning stopped working. Greg came over to diagnose the issue - the same day. He was able to diagnose the issue and resolve it quite quickly. Although it was a quick fix, Greg was very thorough in explaining the issue and provided great advice. Not to mention, I felt very comfortable having Greg in my home - which I consider very important when hiring a service provider. Twin Tech will be my go-to from now on. Thank you!!

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

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See What Our Customers Are Saying:

by Bill Grainger on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Just had a new furnace installed by Twintech. I can’t express how great these guys are at what they do. From the sales to installation they were professional all the way. Very reasonable pricing and courteous during the installation and willing to answer any questions I had. Highly recommended !!!

by Colin Vernon on Twintech Heating and Cooling

They've cleaned my furnace a couple of times and mentioned that the hot water tank standards were going to change soon so I decided to change mine out.

There were a few challenges during the process but the installers handled the problems without missing a stride! I now have really hot water again!

by Heidi B on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Highly recommend Twintech Heating company, we got honest and detailed information on what was needed to replace and install a new gas furnace. Bob and Greg made us feel comfortable withe process through their thorough explanation and knowledge of the right furnace for our needs. The professionalism and courteous friendly attitude towards the customer is what we liked the most as they treated us like family. So happy with our decision and new furnace we will be looking into get our rental water heater replaced and installed by Twintech team. We feel better having their knowledge on our side and will only trust them with any further maintenance of furnace.

by Kirushanth Rasiah on Twintech Heating and Cooling

Customer service and knowledge is priority in this industry, and Twintech has it. I've dealt with their team for maintenance and a furnace replacement. They're accommodating and make great recommendations, and came through at a great price over the big guys in the industry. They'll be my next call when I need service or maintenance.

by Leonard Glass on Twintech Heating and Cooling

I decided that the noises and age of the existing furnace which was old and not very efficient to replace it. Gave Greg a call and Grant and Greg got to work on it. Because of supply issues with the current heating type that would be an easier install Greg convinced me to change the location of the system and it would provide me better service for heat and efficiency. I had skeptical but went ahead anyway putting trust in Greg And Grant. Greg, Grant and Mitch came through and in 2 days had completely relocated my heating and A/C system. I can honestly say Greg was right my old house has been warmer and more evenly heated as it ever was. For anyone reading this rather long winded review can take my word for it, Twin Tech can take care of your needs.

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