What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?

If you are not familiar with furnaces, it can be really hard to choose which type will fit your needs. Currently you are able to choose from three different types of forced air furnaces. The type of furnace you use depends on a variety of factors, such as: your heating needs, the state of your existing ductwork and the insulation, the size of your home, how many levels exist in your home, and your budget.

Before you make the decision to invest in a brand-new heating system for your home, consult a professional HVAC contractor, like us at Weather Tech Heating and Cooling. We have over 40 years of experience under our belts, so we know what we’re doing. We provide old-fashioned professional courtesy with high-tech, modern equipment.

When a professional HVAC contractor installs a furnace into a home, they have to ensure it keeps that home warm on the coldest day of the year for that particular climate. Problem is, over 90% of the time, that furnace will be oversized. Especially on the shoulder seasons where you need a furnace but only for a slight chill in the air as opposed to a ‘-40 wind chill’ type cold. The answer to that challenge is to provide a furnace which can adapt to either, or any condition. That is why furnaces now come with options for the consumer.

Here are the three types of furnaces and what you need to know about them:

Single Stage Furnace

These are the lowest priced furnaces. Just as the name suggests, they have one stage of heating. So, on a call for heat from the thermostat, they will open the gas valve 100% and use the full capacity of heat it is capable of until it is turned off by a signal from the thermostat. So, understandably, this type of furnace is not very energy efficient. You might enjoy it on a particularly frigid day, but it is not practical for semi-cold days when all you want to do is take the chill off.

Two Stage Furnace

One speed functions at about 65% of its full force. This tends to be enough heat for most temperatures and climates. If it is extremely cold outside, the second stage kicks on, which functions at a higher fan speed than the first default speed. The second stage will sufficiently heat the home in very cold temperatures and keep you comfortable.

Because it is not functioning at full force all of the time, two stage furnaces are typically more quiet than single stage furnaces. They require less energy to run, and they provide a nice even source of heat in the home without the temperature swings of a single stage furnace.

Variable Stage Furnace

Otherwise known as a ‘modulating’ furnace. Real simply put, this furnace can adapt to any weather conditions. If it is a super cold day and your home needs the furnace to operate at full capacity or if its mild out and the demand requires only 47% of capacity. This furnace’s gas valve can open on 1% increments so it operates at its peak efficiency all of the time. Learning the algorithms of your homes heating cycle it will learn to keep your home within ½ a degree within the set point you enter on the thermostat!

Blower Motors

One more option to any new furnace will be the type of Blower motor it has.  There are also three types of blower motors available:

  • Multi speed (4 speed) – basic with any new furnace
  • Multi speed (4 speed) E.C.M – energy efficient motor
  • Variable E.C.M – energy efficient with added features

E.C.M or Electronically Commutated Motor, often called a “D.C. motor” or “Constant Torque motor” can be a set 4 speeds or a variable speed motor. The benefits of a variable are many but the main benefits are that is quite customizable to many different homes and duct designs. The adjustment of precise air flow is achievable and getting that ‘just right’ amount of airflow from your vents is possible. It increases the efficiency of a cooling system, and it also counteracts a dirty filter and ramps up to ensure the proper amount of air is still delivered. This is important to ensure your furnace doesn’t overheat beyond engineered limitations and will help to prevent cracking heat exchangers and other malfunctions which would hinder the longevity of your new furnace.

Even when the heating portion of the furnace is not on, the fan can still be controlled and turned on. This is a marvelous function because you can continually circulate air through your house. Since it passes through a filter, it helps remove bacteria, allergens and mold out of the air. Removing contaminants from the air, having better control over the ambient temperature in your home, and better regulation of humidity, make for a more comfortable environment and better air quality.

Since some of the variable speed furnaces are becoming more technologically advanced, you can save a considerable amount of energy from your hydro bill. They may cost more to install initially, but the long-term savings are often worth the expense as they run 66% less electrical consumption!

You won’t know what type of furnace will fit your needs and your budget without an inspection of your home and doing a consultation. So, if you live in the Winnipeg area, contact Weather Tech Heating and Cooling. We offer 24-hour emergency service to all our customers. We specialize in furnace installation, HVAC repairs, preventative maintenance, furnace repair, duct cleaning, air filtration, air conditioner installation and repair, and even dryer vent cleaning. We pride ourselves on getting the job done quickly, and getting it done right the first time. Weather Tech uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to locate and identify heating and air problems, so that we can fix them fast. With over 40 years of experience, we are very knowledgeable about furnaces and can recommend the right one for you.

Steve De Vries is a “Red Seal” refrigeration technician with over 20 years of experience in the HVAC industry. He has been a certified Lennox Premier technician since 2006. Steve is also a Master gas-fitter licensed by the province of Manitoba. Along with his Red Seal Provincial accreditation he also holds an electrical license. Born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba, Steve has a very good understanding of a diverse climate and the affects it has on our construction. Well versed in duct design, fabrication, ventilation, and air quality, Steve understands all the variables to take into consideration for our region as well as the science to achieve desired comfort, which is so much more than just temperature.