Jim from Ohio

06:38PM | 11/23/01
Member Since: 11/22/01
2 lifetime posts
The furnace in our home in SW Ohio has a cracked heat exchanger, requiring a replacement. We interviewed several contractors we consider to be reputable in order to determine the best alternative.

Many of the contractors have recommended a two-stage furnace (preferably with variable speed) to save energy on moderate-temperature days, as well as to reduce the temperature fluctuations in the house. What we don't understand is how temperature fluctuations in various regions of our two-story brick house can be reduced, as we will still have just one thermostat in a central location (first floor living room) which will control the activity.

Also, one reputable contractor recommended a single-stage furnace, stating that his experience is a two-stage furnace in a two-story house with our layout (pretty typical) doesn't work effectively. He offers a two-stage model (with the typical increased price tag), so he doesn't have the incentive to steer us to one stage because of a limited offering.

Could someone offer a simple explanation of the benefits of two vs. single stage furnaces? Is a two stage always more effective (in a two-story home)? Is a variable speed two stage always superior (neglecting the price differential)?

Need a quick response, as our current moderate temperatures are not expected to last. Thanks!

Jim from Ohio

05:27PM | 11/25/01
Member Since: 11/22/01
2 lifetime posts
Thanks for your feedback. It sounds like the two-stage, variable speed option is a favorable alternative.

This presents some additional concerns:
1) The manufacturer for our quote on the two-stage, variable speed furnace is Trane. I'm not an HVAC expert, but I believe Trane has a solid reputation. I'm wary, though, that their reputation is built on commercial business, not residential (I don't personally know of any people with Trane furnaces at home). Do you know if they have a substantial customer basis in the residential sector?

2)If we decide to pursue the other primary alternative (Carrier), their quote for a two-stage, variable speed furnace was substantially higher (over $900). How likely are they to negotiate and come down on price (ideally to match the other offer)?

Thanks for your input.


06:08AM | 10/07/10
Member Since: 10/06/10
1 lifetime posts
I am NOT a professional HVAC person at all, just a home owner. I too am in the process of purchasing a furnace and have done a lot of research. Two or Three Stage furnances are nice as far as comfort, but have nothing to do with efficiency. I personally am purchasing a single stage 95% efficiency furnace and have made sure I have adequate insulation in my attic, caulk windows, doors, etc. For me, it was a $1000 more for the two stage and I didn't think it was worth the extra money. As long as you get a high efficiency furnance with a good warranty, you should be fine. Nothing against two-stage furnances, I personally do not think the benefit is worth the extra cash.


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