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A Complete Guide to Modulating Furnaces

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Are you often too hot or too cold at home? Several factors influence a home’s indoor temperature, such as outdoor air temperature, humidity, and sunlight exposure. The truth is that the furnace technology in your home greatly affects how well your home will respond to these external factors.  

The best way to ensure that your home will not be too hot on a sunny day or too cold when the frost appears is to go with a modulating furnace. 

What is a Modulating Furnace? 

Instead of having just one or two settings, a modulating furnace will offer an entire spectrum of settings. The idea is that it starts running at full capacity when turned on and makes adjustments to its heat output as needed.  

This differs from a conventional furnace, which uses a fixed heat output that turns on and off to control the temperature. It would be most accurate to say that a modulating furnace has no fixed intensity or settings. These settings (i.e. the different levels of heat output) constantly change from one level to another depending on a few key factors. 

Modulating Furnaces vs Two-Stage and Variable Speed Furnaces 

Two-Stage Furnaces

Two-stage furnaces are a common alternative to the traditional one-stage design. A typical two-stage furnace offers two heat output settings, low and high, in addition to turning on and off to adjust the temperature. Because these models don’t always run on full power, they are slightly more efficient than one-stage furnaces. However, two-stage furnaces are still far more limited than modulating furnaces since they can’t provide variable heat output.  

Variable Speed Furnaces

It might be tempting to think of modulating and variable-speed furnaces as similar, but there are some key differences. The main one is that most variable speed furnaces cannot switch between speeds automatically. Most users will have to manually select the setting based on the temperature outside. Regardless of the speed, it will still turn on and off to regulate the temperature, as opposed to changing its heat output like a modulating furnace. 

Is a Modulating Furnace Worth It? 

A modulating furnace is more expensive than a single-stage or variable-speed model because it requires more sophisticated engineering and parts to alter heat output. This also means that when something fails, you cannot go to the hardware store, buy a generic part and replace it yourself.

That said, modulating furnaces offer unmatched home comfort while also being one of the most efficient types of furnaces you can buy. Therefore, you may save more on your monthly bills as well.  

The question, then, is whether the additional upfront costs will outweigh the energy savings.  

Speak to a ClimateCare Expert 

Nothing else out there can deliver comfortable indoor air like a modulating furnace. If you’re wondering whether it’s time to make the switch, speaking to a professional can help answer any questions you may have.  

Call your local ClimateCare today to find out if a modulating furnace is the right fit for your needs. 

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