A picture of a green electric furnace beside the words "Variable Speed vs Two-Stage Furnace"

Furnaces provide comforting warmth on a cold Texas winter’s night. In the late seasons of fall, it becomes imperative to schedule maintenance for your furnace so that you can be prepared for extremely low temperatures, should they occur. Yet, it’s also important to be aware of your furnace options. Please read on to discover the difference between a variable speed and a two-stage furnace.

What is a Variable Speed Furnace?

A variable speed furnace is capable of monitoring the temperature of your home. By monitoring your home air temperatures, variable speed furnaces are able to adjust the speed of the blower in small increments. It then tests the air and makes further adjustments to suit the desired air temperature. A variable speed furnace is precise and efficient at the task of evenly heating different parts of your home.

What is a Two Speed Furnace?

Two-speed furnaces are understandably different from variable-speed furnaces. The key difference is the two different settings, which vary simply from high to low. Generally speaking, the low setting is quite reasonable most of the time. Your two-speed furnace will adjust to the high setting when it is unreasonably cold in your home.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is practical and has long-term benefits for your indoor atmosphere. Fortunately, both the two-speed furnace and the variable speed furnace are energy efficient. Let’s delve into the functions of these furnaces and how they manifest energy efficiency in your household.

Energy Efficiency; Variable Speed Furnace

Variable-speed furnaces are particularly renowned in the HVAC community due to the fact that they only run at the capacity that is necessary to achieve the desired temperature. Furthermore, variable speed furnaces are more efficient than single or two-speed furnaces and can cut energy consumption by up to seventy percent.

Energy Efficiency; Two Speed Furnaces

Two-speed furnaces may not be as energy-efficient as their counterpart, the variable speed furnace, but they outperform the single-speed furnace. These furnaces respond well to weather fluctuations and keep the house cozy and comfortable.

Noise During Operation

From your dishwasher to your HVAC system, each appliance makes a certain amount of noise. If you are looking for a furnace that will make little to no noise, like most homeowners, it’s essential to be aware of such nuances. Thankfully, both of these options have proven results when it comes to low noise operation.

Noise During Operation; Variable Speed Furnace

The variable speed furnace has the ability to adjust the blower to the desired temperature, making it noiseless when it is not needed.

Noise During Operation; Two Speed Furnace

Unlike single stage furnaces, two stage furnaces can adjust to their two stages without turning simply on and off. It’s a more efficient and quieter option.

Initial Installation Costs

Variable Speed Furnace 

When you are purchasing a furnace, understanding your budget and the price tag involved will be a consideration. With regard to a variable speed furnace, the cost comes to around $1,500 to $5,000. While this may seem like a high price to pay, the sheer efficiency of the unit will place a return on investment over the years.

Two Stage Furnace 

If you’re looking for a furnace with a little less sticker shock, a two stage furnace may be preferable. These units are cheaper than variable speed furnaces, coming in at $250 to $600 for the unit on it’s own. Depending on how old the unit is that you are replacing, you will certainly see a profit with regard to energy savings, as is the case with the variable speed furnace.

Best Environment for a Variable Speed Furnace

Variable speed furnaces are wonderfully effective at producing the perfect temperature for a household. Yet, it remains important for homeowners who want to see a return on investment shortly thereafter to contemplate a cheaper option. Some variable speed furnaces come with an Energy Star certification, which would mean rebates that could offset the initial installation costs. Alternatively, two speed furnaces certainly get the job done. If you are going to sell your home in the near future, you may want to consult your local HVAC expert and determine the best course of action.

Best Environment for a Two-Stage Furnace

If you own or operate a property that has multiple floors, or live in an area where the outdoor temperatures fluctuate dramatically, then a two speed furnace may be the perfect choice for your purposes. After all, you never know when a snow storm could be brewing. This furnace is able to automatically switch between low and high settings, which will keep your home from having hot and cold spots.

If you are looking for a new furnace, furnace repairs, or need furnace maintenance, our team at Cote’s Mechanical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service, so that your home is never left out in the cold. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment with our talented HVAC crew.