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Variable Speed Motors versus Standard / Single Speed Motors

When it comes time to replace your furnace you should consider the type of motor and the benefits it offers. Choosing the best motor will improve efficiency and provide more comfort in your home – in winter and all seasons!

Let’s take a look and compare the two most popular types of furnace motors

Standard or Single Speed Motor

The standard or single speed motor is the most common and least expensive furnace motor. Its job is to turn the blower on and off when there is a call for heat. After the burners ignite and warm the air inside the furnace the blower (operated by a single speed motor) then pushes the warmed air throughout the ducts into areas of the home.

As its name implies this type of motor has one speed and works at full capacity when running. Essentially it is either off or it operates at full speed. When your home begins to feel chilly, the heat kicks in and delivers a blast of heated air to warm the house. The heat provided does not feel consistent because of the period of time when the home starts to feel cold and the time it takes to warm the house after the blower kicks in. This lapse in time becomes very noticeable during the coldest winter days.

Because a single speed motor runs at full capacity when operating it is not as energy efficient as a variable speed motor – as explained below.

Variable Speed Motor

When your home calls for heat the burners ignite and the blower pushes the warm air through the ducts to the rooms in your home.

A variable speed motor allows the blower to operate at different speeds depending on the amount of heat required. This feature becomes important when your home is slightly cool. The motor can run the blower slowly when the demand for heat is low. On the coldest winter days when maximum heat is needed the motor will then operate at full capacity. Additionally because a variable speed motor can better control the amount of warm air needed throughout your home, the temperature in your home will feel far more consistent and provide better comfort.

The variable speed motor is not always operating at full capacity, as a result, its energy efficiency is far superior than a single speed motor.

More Benefits of Variable Speed Motors

Because the motor operates at slower speeds the blower will run longer (when the call for heat is low) resulting in more airflow circulating through the HVAC air filter(s) improving the indoor air quality of your home.

A variable speed motor is also far better at removing excess humidity when using your air conditioning. Longer blower cycles will allow for better comfort with lower humidity levels.

Finally a variable speed motor is quieter and less noisy than a single speed motor.

While it is true that a variable speed motor offers more features – it does cost more. The trade-off is that it will improve efficiency (reducing energy cost) and provide more consistent and exceptional comfort when compared to a single speed motor.

Variable Speed Motor vs Single Speed Motors

Variable Speed MotorSingle Speed Motor
Features Variable Speeds (slow to full capacity)Motor Runs only at Full Capacity and is either On or Off
Energy Efficiency
Lower speed settings allow for better energy efficiency even with longer running cycles.
Energy Efficiency
Motor turns on running at full capacity or it is off. Frequent on/off cycles require more energy.
Indoor Air Quality
Can run slower speed settings for longer periods of time. Air flow circulates more often through HVAC filter(s) improving indoor air quality.
Indoor Air Quality
Single speed motor does circulate air through the HVAC filter(s) but not as often as variable speed motors.
Humidity Control
While frequently cycling air (in summer) through the system it cools the air for improved comfort and removes excess humidity.
Humidity Control
It will remove humidity but only when running during shorter cycles at full capacity.
Can be as much as 55 decibels lower (quieter) than a single speed motor as it can run at slower speeds.
Typically a single speed motor run at 76 decibels.
Costs more upfront but can save money long-term as a high-efficiency furnace uses less natural gas and electricity with variable speed motors.
Costs less and is a popular choice for budget minded consumers.

Furnace Financing

We can help with financing options to get your new furnace replaced immediately.
We work with who try and take the hassle out of borrowing and make it simple to qualify.
They offer:

  • A quick and easy application process
  • 0% Financing available OAC

If you’re interested in financing or would just like to discuss what your options are for staying warm and comfortable contact us today.

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