Two-stage furnaces can save a ton on your gas bills

By Joel Wensley
It’s bad enough to have outrageous heating bills during the heating season, but the real kick in the pants is to have a home that’s uncomfortable and unevenly heated as well.

Here’s a way to save money and be more comfortable all at the same time. This is what’s called a two-stage furnace. It’s 95 percent efficient so it saves a ton on your gas bills and the best part about it is the way it helps to develop a much more even temperature throughout your entire home. Here’s how it works.

When a regular furnace turns on, it comes on with all the burners at the same time. The problem with that is, most of the time, we don’t need all the burners coming on. Furnaces are sized for the coldest day of the year. What happens when it’s not that freezing cold out? Your big old furnace comes on runs for just a couple minutes heating up the house very quickly and then forces the thermostat to shut off. This usually leaves upper and lower levels of homes, like basements and second story’s lacking for heat. The first floor always heats up the fastest.

When a two-stage furnace turns on, it only uses about half of the burners to start off with. Now, instead of running only a couple minutes at full blast, this furnace runs seven to eight minutes at half capacity, warming the house more gradually. This sends two to three times more heat to the areas of the home that do not get enough with a furnace running at full blast right from the start.

A two-stage furnace is designed to run longer at less BTUs which helps to keep the heat in your home circulating better and much more evenly distributed. Also, by using less BTUs, or less gas, we’ll save a good amount of money as well.

(Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical contractor in the state of Michigan, a contributor on Fox 2 News on WJBK-TV Channel 2, and president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.)