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When heating your Manassas, Virginia, home, you’ve got more energy-efficient options than a heater that simply turns on or off. Think about replacing your old furnace with a variable speed furnace and a smart thermostat. A variable speed furnace incrementally adjusts how much power it uses to consistently heat your home and save you energy in the process.

Furnace Efficiency

The variable speed aspect of a furnace has to do with the blower motor. A traditional furnace, called a single-stage furnace, is either on or off, working at full capacity or not working at all. This isn’t very energy-efficient, because to heat your home, you don’t always need full capacity. Maximizing energy efficiency in furnaces means designing furnaces that don’t just run on high. For that you have several options, including a two-stage furnace (sometimes called a multi-speed furnace) and a variable speed furnace.

Two-Stage Versus Variable Speed

The two-stage furnace operates at two capacities when it’s on. Typically, it runs on its lower capacity, which is adequate for heating the home. When the temperature drops, the furnace switches to high so the home’s internal temperature can keep up with the thermostat setting. Some two-stage furnaces will switch on their own, while others need you to manually change their setting. Compared to single-stage furnaces, two-stage furnaces save electricity and money.

Variable speed furnaces are even better at saving you energy. They operate at a multitude of speeds and use smart technology to adjust the blower motor settings based on the specific heating needs of your home at any given time. Variable speed furnaces are the most energy-efficient option because you’re never using more energy than absolutely necessary to heat your home. That means you gain heating efficiency on the AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) scale, and you use less electricity overall.

The heating output a variable speed furnace provides is more consistent. Regular furnaces run until your home is at the right temperature, then shut off until it’s time to heat the air again. This can create inconsistencies in your home heating, which may lead to you adjusting the thermostat when the temperature drops a little too much. Variable speed furnaces aren’t limited to on or off, which means they can consistently heat your home while using much less energy. You won’t be too toasty when the furnace is on, but too cold when it’s off.

Variable Speed and Zoning

Typically, variable speed furnaces come with smart thermostats that, among other things, adjust the blower motor automatically. These smart thermostats often have the capability to zone your home’s heating, which wouldn’t be possible with a single-stage or a two-stage furnace. Because variable speed furnaces can produce the exact amount of heat you need without wasting energy, they’re perfect if you want to add a temperature zoning system to your home.

Zoning is another great way to save energy and money, because it allows you to heat the rooms you use most often without wasting heat in rooms you may not need. Instead of just blocking vents, which can throw your HVAC system out of balance, the zoning system is part of your smart thermostat’s array of abilities. All you have to do is program in the temperatures you want.

Other Considerations

Variable speed furnaces are better at circulating the air through your home, since the blower keeps the air circulating even if the furnace isn’t heating. That means better IAQ, since the air is always moving through the filters. Variable speed furnaces also run much more quietly than single-stage or two-stage furnaces. They turn on slowly, which means there won’t be any loud kick or rumble in the house when the furnace starts, and the overall noise of the air blowing through the vents is quieter, too.

Griffith Energy Services is your resource for all things heating and HVAC. Whether you need maintenance on your existing furnace or want to learn more about our variable speed furnace options, we’re here to answer your questions and provide the HVAC services you need, including repairing emergencies at all hours of the day or night. Call us today at 888-474-3391.

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