If you’re using a furnace to heat your home during our mild winters here on the Coastal Bend, your best bet is a modulating furnace that provides optimum energy efficiency. Choosing a standard single-stage, mid-efficiency furnace likely will lead you with a noisy heating system that cycles on and off all the time while wasting energy and doing an inconsistent job heating the house.
A single-stage furnace comes with a gas valve that is either open or closed, without any intermediate settings. In the same way, its blower motor is likely to use outmoded single-speed technology that doesn’t provide any variability in fan speed. When the thermostat signals these systems to turn on, they kick into 100 percent operation, with the gas valve fully open and the fan operating at high speed. As a result, a standard furnace will fulfill the temperature demand relatively quickly, shut down, then repeat the process. This start-and-stop operation (called short cycling) continues as long as the thermostat is signaling the need for heat.
A furnace typically uses the most energy at start-up, so repeated short cycling consumes a lot of energy, as does the 100 percent operation when it’s running. All the starting and stopping is noisy, and can result in uneven heating in rooms as well as significant temperature swings.
Modulating furnaces, on the other hand, come with a gas valve that has intermediate settings and a variable-speed blower motor. This technology allows them to adjust the staging and fan speed to meet heating demand at the moment. After initial full operation to satisfy the temperature demand, unless it’s extremely cold outside, modulating furnaces will ramp down to a slower, more continuous speed, without frequent cycling.
This uses less energy, places less stress on the equipment, and delivers more consistent, even heating throughout the house. The continuous operation also allows for more air filtration as household air cycles through the air filter more often.
To discuss your options for a modulating furnace (or other type of heating or cooling system) for your Corpus Christi area home, please contact us at CCAC, Inc.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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