Why Consider A Variable-Speed Furnace?
Here’s a common heating season scenario: You’re sitting in the den with your feet up after dinner, easing into the evening with a good book or the tube. It’s wintertime, and your heating system is doing its job steadily and reliably, the central furnace providing consistent warmth. Your furnace has a clean, good quality air filter, and there’s even a central humidifier and an air purifier helping to keep your IAQ in excellent health.
But here’s the catch: Every time the furnace turns on, you detect a noticeable ‘whoosh’ of air in the room and around the house as the fan starts up. The heat runs for a little while, does its job, and then the fan turns off, catching your attention again by its sudden absence. When the heat comes back on, the furnace fan again makes its presence known at both ends of the heating cycle. As always. And the cycle continues on thru the evening. The house is warm, and although some rooms are notably cooler than others, these quirks are dismissed as minor annoyances, and you move on to more momentous distractions.
Does the above sound like your home? If your answer is ‘yes,’ then now may be a good time to learn more about a heating option that continues to gain popularity: variable-speed furnaces.
What Is A Variable-Speed Furnace?
A variable-speed furnace, unlike standard forced air heaters, is a furnace that’s equipped with a variable-speed fan to distribute warm air around the home. Variable-speed fans are found on select models of mid and high-efficiency furnaces and are an important component in producing the enhanced comfort levels and efficiency associated with variable-output units and some two-stage furnaces.
Featuring a special, highly efficient electric motor, high on the list of benefits provided by a variable-speed furnace fan is its ability to turn on at a very low speed, and then slowly ramp up, as needed. This creates a much less intrusive ‘on’ impression when the heater kicks in, with the main fan coming on almost unnoticed, at times. When the furnace shuts off at the end of the heating cycle, a similar, ramping-down takes place. We’ve actually heard some customers comment that they couldn’t tell exactly when their variable-speed furnace turned on and off.
Main Furnace Blower Vs. Exhaust Fan
Not to be confused with our primary topic in this blog – the main furnace blower – please note that most furnaces also have a second, smaller fan known as the exhaust fan, or combustion blower, whose purpose is to vent the gaseous products of combustion to the outdoors through an approved venting system. Depending on the model of furnace, the exhaust fan may also be equipped with a variable-speed or two-speed motor, which also assists in reducing operating sound levels.
Why Should I Consider A Variable-Speed Furnace?
Whether you call it a variable-speed furnace or a furnace with a variable-speed fan, it’s still the same animal. Available mainly in select models of 90%+ efficient furnaces, as we mentioned above, their operation is less intrusive, and they also use less electricity. There are other benefits, as well:
Benefits of a Variable-Speed Furnace:
- Less intrusive
- Lower electrical consumption than standard furnaces
- Reduces wide temperature swings between heating cycles that are often associated with traditional forced air systems
- Helps reduce temperature differences between different levels in the house, and improves heating to rooms located far from the heater
- Improves central humidifier and furnace filter performance, due to lower fan speeds and longer run-cycles inherent in variable-speed equipment
- Design is used in select 2-stage and all variable-output furnaces
- Compatible with variable-output and 2-stage central AC systems
Variable-Output and Two-Stage Furnaces & Central AC
Variable-speed fans are available on select 80% and 90%+ efficient furnaces. These high-performance fans are standard on all variable-output furnaces, whose efficiencies range as high as 99% AFUE (this is not a typo!), as well as certain 2-stage furnaces. In terms of improved comfort, quieter operation, and higher efficiency, these furnaces are often the product of choice when replacing an older system in an owner-occupied home.
The quietest, most efficient, most comfortable central air conditioners, just like furnaces, are variable-output and 2-stage AC systems. On the cooling side of home comfort, their benefits are very similar to those of their heating counterparts. Make note that if you are interested in having one of these high-performance air conditioners installed in your home, it is necessary to have a furnace with matching features. In the Denver-Boulder metro area, you can count on our experienced, highly skilled home comfort team at Save Home Heat Company to answer all your questions about variable-speed furnaces and AC systems in an informative, respectful manner.
Get Expert Advice!
Variable-speed furnaces make good sense for many Boulder-Denver area homeowners hoping to improve comfort levels in their homes and live in greater harmony with their heating and cooling systems. But before you have one of these systems installed it’s important that your existing setup be closely inspected by an HVAC contractor who is very experienced with this type of equipment. There are cases where the existing ducting system could pose potential problems for proper performance.
Our team at Save Home Heat Company has the experience and expertise to identify existing issues that could impede the performance of 2-stage and variable-output heating and cooling systems. If it can be fixed, our team can do the job! You can trust our professional assessments and recommendations to always have your best interests and complete satisfaction as the only guide to our interactions. If you’d like to learn more about variable-speed furnaces, or to schedule a free, low-pressure price quote, please give our friendly, helpful team a call today!