What Is A Variable Speed Furnace?

energy efficiency graph depicting efficient variable-speed furnace systemsFurnaces are constantly improving thanks to technological innovations. New models have features that provide better efficiency and comfort compared to their predecessors. For example, people who are on the hunt for a new unit should see to it that they are getting a variable-speed furnace. Read on to learn more about this modern technology and why it is a must-have for your next heating system.

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What is a Variable Speed Furnace?

True to its name, this type of furnace is capable of running at a variety of speeds with the goal of enhancing performance. This is made possible by a blower that contains an electronically commutated motor. This ECM operates at variable speeds using direct current in an inverter and magnet rotor setup. This design lets the ECM reach higher energy efficiency in comparison to motors that use alternating current. What’s more, the ECM costs less to maintain and operate. Despite the higher price tag of a variable speed furnace versus a traditional furnace, it is still the more practical choice because of the lower ownership cost. Homeowners can expect to break even in 4 to 5 years.

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How Variable Speed Furnaces Work

Cutting-edge technology allows variable speed furnaces to track and evaluate data coming from the heating system. They use the information to make adjustments on the fly without waiting for manual commands. They can automatically change the settings for optimal indoor comfort. These furnaces manage the amount of air moving across the home based on multiple considerations such as clogged HVAC filters and blocked vents. Instead of letting these reduce system performance, the fan speed simply compensates by going faster or slower. They also tend to ramp up gradually instead of what traditional furnaces do which is going full speed at once. This results in quieter operation and smoother transitions. What’s more, variable speed furnaces will only push themselves to the limit when the situation requires so they can save a lot of energy.

Distinctions Among Single-Speed, Two-Stage, & Variable-Speed Furnaces

image of efficiency vs cost depicting variable-speed furnace

Single-stage furnaces are designed to run at max speed around the clock. They are not able to make adjustments based on the airflow when trying to achieve the temperature setting on the thermostat. As for two-stage furnaces, the operation can switch between low and high. In the low phase, they are able to save fuel by running on energy-saving mode. If they need to push harder because of colder outdoor conditions, then they will begin to ramp up the amount of energy they consume until they reach the second phase to provide warm air around the house. Most two-stage furnaces will operate at 25% capacity for the majority of the time. This results in lower noise and fewer carbon emissions than those produced by a single-stage furnace.

While those are impressive innovations, engineers kept finding new ways to save even more energy and operate with higher efficiency. They came up with variable-speed furnaces to reach their lofty goals. Thanks to a computer-controlled blower motor, these furnaces can keep an eye on the indoor airflow and make automatic adjustments as necessary. The new blower motor provides the furnace with exceptional energy efficiency and consistent heat production.

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How Variable-Speed Furnaces Can Enhance Home Efficiency

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Since variable-speed furnaces are able to control airflow with high precision, the heat can be distributed evenly across a home. Humidity will also be managed, resulting in better indoor comfort. Despite doing more, this type of equipment will actually consume 66% less electricity while beating single-speed furnaces in performance. They will run at low capacity as much as possible to conserve energy. They will barely be audible as they do their work. Unlike 2-stage furnaces, they can increase their speed slowly such that air fluctuations can be reduced.

These furnaces are generally equipped with smart thermostats that can control the blower motor speed by themselves. Owners do not need to make the fine adjustments since these will all happen automatically in the background. These smart thermostats can even be programmed to treat different areas of the house as separate zones. The level of heating might be set at distinct intensities based on the needs of the occupants. This further minimizes energy waste while eliminating the need to block vents and risk system malfunction. With this furnace, you can enjoy greater precision when setting indoor temperatures. The system takes its time to make sure it hits the goals and varies the speed of the blower motors depending on the environmental conditions. The entire home will benefit from a consistent supply of hot air.

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Other Benefits of Variable Speed Furnaces

1. Clean Indoor Air

While the blower motor is running, the system will move air through the HVAC filters and catch the airborne impurities. There will be less dust, pollen, dander, and other unwanted microscopic objects floating around. Families can enjoy better indoor air quality.

2. Humidity Control

Single-stage heaters are not that good at controlling indoor humidity. In contrast, variable-speed furnaces are much better at the task of removing moisture from the air. This makes them the perfect solution for homes that experience high humidity and the problems that are associated with this like mold growth. The furnace should be a boon for people who are sensitive to these allergens.


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Single-speed furnaces have limited capabilities whereas variable-speed furnaces are able to do more thanks to their built-in computers. They can keep track of airflow around the house and extract insights from the data. After this, they will act autonomously to improve indoor comfort. Unlike traditional heating equipment, a furnace with variable speed is more eco-friendly, efficient, and precise. It also has a longer furnace service life, lower maintenance requirements, and cheaper operational cost.

Call Point Bay Fuel for All Your HVAC Needs


If you are looking for excellent HVAC services in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey, then give Point Bay Fuel a call. You will get access to a group of certified technicians who can deliver impressive results for installations, replacements, repairs, and tune-ups. Every single one of them has undergone rigorous training to ensure impeccable service with each call.

Our rates compare favorably with other contractors in the region. With our maintenance services, you can see your HVAC system performing at its best. Energy efficiency will go up while operating costs will go down. We can also provide advice on system replacements so that you can get a new unit with confidence. Call Point Bay Fuel today and take advantage of our in-home estimates.

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