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What Are the Differences Between a Single-Stage and a Two-Stage Furnace?

Carrier infinity two stage furnace and IAQ

When choosing a new furnace, homeowners often find themselves deciding between a single-stage furnace and a two-stage furnace. Understanding the differences between these two home heating systems helps you make a choice aligned with your specific needs. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Single-Stage Furnace

As the name suggests, a single-stage furnace operates at a single output level — full blast. When the thermostat signals a need for heat, a single-stage furnace kicks into action, running at maximum capacity until the desired temperature is reached. Once the set temperature is achieved, the furnace shuts off until the next heating cycle.

Single-stage furnaces are generally more affordable upfront compared to their two-stage counterparts. However, while they do the job, single-stage furnaces may consume more energy, as they operate at maximum output regardless of the heating requirements. This means that they may not be as energy-efficient as two-stage furnaces.

Two-Stage Furnace

Contrary to the single-stage model, a two-stage or dual-stage furnace offers a more nuanced approach to heating your home. Instead of continually operating at full blast, a two-stage furnace has two output settings: high and low. The low setting is sufficient for milder temperature requirements, saving energy and providing a more consistent and even heat distribution.

By having two output levels, two-stage furnaces optimize energy usage. The low setting is ideal for maintaining a constant, comfortable temperature without needing full-capacity operation. The ability to operate at a lower capacity for extended periods results in more consistent heating, reducing temperature swings in your home. Moreover, because two-stage furnaces are more efficient than single-stage models, you can save money due to lower utility bills.

Choosing the Right Furnace for Your Home

When deciding between a single-stage and a two-stage furnace, consider your budget, energy efficiency goals and desired comfort level. A single-stage furnace may be suitable for people with small homes or apartments or those concerned about upfront costs. However, a two-stage furnace is an excellent choice for those looking to invest in long-term energy savings or those with larger homes with more complex heating requirements.

Ultimately, it’s best to consult a heating and cooling expert from Don’s Heating & Cooling to determine which furnace type is right for your home.

Furnace Installation and Maintenance in Orangeville and Alliston

At Don’s Heating & Cooling, we offer professional furnace installation and maintenance services, providing top-quality service and products to match your home and family. We proudly carry high-efficiency furnaces from industry-leading brands like Carrier. Contact us today to learn more and get an estimate on your new single- or two-stage furnace.


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