Heating Systems: Sometimes Less Can Be More!

September 5, 2016

When it’s time to replace your old furnace or boiler, we strongly recommend taking the time to learn about all your options. Among those should be equipment that offers ‘two-stage’ heating capability. You may also hear about top-end equipment that features self-adjusting, ‘modulating’ design. So what’s the big deal with these options? Why should a homeowner in the Colorado Front Range want to hear about them? For a quick introduction to two-stage and modulating (variable output) central heaters for your home, please read on:

Heating outdoors winter season

Two-Stage Furnaces

Think about how our weather here in Colorado varies, and the broad range of temperatures we see on an almost daily basis. Now think about most heating systems, with only one fixed heat output – maximum! Wouldn’t it be nice if your furnace could produce less heat on milder days but could still crank it up when the weather turns frigid? That’s how a two-stage furnace works!

Imagine you’re driving in your car, and the only speed options were ‘stopped’ and ‘50 miles per hour.’ That would be a lot of neck and back pain from all that starting and stopping. A pretty uncomfortable ride! That’s an extreme example, but your standard furnace provides that same type of comfort.

Most two-stage furnaces will operate at roughly 60% of capacity most of the time, when you’re just trying to maintain a steady temperature. The result is a gentler, quieter heat cycle. But then they can automatically fire up at full capacity when the thermostat has fallen more than a few degrees below the set point, or if we’re having one of those particularly nasty Colorado days.

The advantages of this design are several, including quieter operation when in low stage, more even heating, enhanced air filtration and humidification, and lower electrical and gas consumption compared to standard output equipment of the same efficiency. Two-stage furnaces are available in standard and high efficiency models, and make complete sense for most homeowners in our area!

Modulating Furnaces & Boilers

To truly experience a furnace or boiler ‘ride’ unsurpassed in comfort levels, modulating equipment is the ticket! Instead of just two levels of heating to choose from, modulating furnaces and boilers provide a broad range of temperature output ranging typically from 35% all the way to full capacity, and all spots in between. This creates the ultimate in precise indoor temperature control and even heating throughout your home.

In the case of forced air heat, modulating furnaces also provide the optimal environment for your central humidifier and air filter. Translated to today’s HVAC lingo: truly enhanced Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)!

In the case of both forced air furnaces and hot water boilers, all currently available modulating equipment is in the 95% AFUE efficiency range. Many of these models may qualify for utility company or manufacturer rebates!

Contact your trusted and experienced Denver and Boulder area HVAC contractor for more information and expert advice on a two-stage or modulating furnace, or a modulating boiler, and see if this type of system is a good fit for your home. You’ll be glad you did!