View Full Version : 93% Two-Stage or 95% Variable Speed?
01-20-2011, 05:27 PM
We plan to keep mainly heating with wood and have propane as backup. I have heard that the variable speed would be good when I am heating with wood because I can keep the fan going to help circulate that heat from the fire, and use a fraction of the electricity.
The question is whether or not its worth the extra cost to go with the variable speed? I know we can't post prices, but is it ok to say the price difference I was quoted for the 95?
My next question is about the brand of furnace and A/C. The company I am dealing with sells Armstrong Air and I can't find a lot of info on them. Does anyone have anything to share on quality etc of them?
01-20-2011, 05:44 PM
If the price difference isn't too large, go with the 95/VS. You will love the way the fan can be set up to circulate (the wood heat).
big sky hvac
01-20-2011, 05:53 PM
I would say it is worth the extra investment for a variable speed considering on how you plan on using it. With that said, there are other options you could consider. You could save yourself a little bit of money and go with an 80% variable speed furnace. You would still save considerably on your electricity, but you'd go through more LP when you're not burning wood. If you get to a point where you can't burn wood, it would probably be nice to have the higher efficiency unit. You might also consider going with a heat pump if you're in a part of the country where you'd benefit from it. Armstrong is owned by Lennox. I don't know if they're still using Honeywell's smartvalve gas valve, but if they are, I'd steer clear. If they dont' use them anymore, then you'll probably be fine.
01-20-2011, 06:03 PM
Never thought about that..
I have always heard that going from a mid to high efficiency isn't always a great investment. From what I heard, by the time its paid for itself you are ready to replace the furnace again?
Is this the case? Would this be like going from 80% to 95%?
Also is there a way I can find out if it they still use the honeywell smartvalve, or could anyone verify that? I am in Ontario Canada so I don't know if a heat pump would work well, but I don't know much about that
What seem to be the best best built furnaces these days?
01-20-2011, 06:09 PM
A VS ECM motor can pay for itself in electric savings if you run the fan 24/7.
01-20-2011, 06:13 PM
I don't think we would run it 24/7, but definitely when we have fires going. Which is every night when we get home from work, and all day on weekends. No one is home during the day mon-fri so we are unable to have fires going. Not sure if that adds to the equation much.
01-20-2011, 06:22 PM
So it will run a constantly a min of 30% of the week. Still makes the electric savings worth while. then when you include when its running in low stage to heat the house. it will pay for itself.
01-20-2011, 06:24 PM
Any opinions on Armstrong Air?
01-20-2011, 06:46 PM
Any opinions on Armstrong Air?
Armstrong is a mid grade piece of equipment that is middle of the road in quality and price. It would not be anyone's first choice, but if you trust the dealer and that is all they sell, it could give you good service. The variable speed/ecm motor is well worth the cost increase while a two stage furnace with an a/c motor would be a bad choice for you as the two speeds have extended run times and the blower operational costs would be high. Armstrong was part of the old Magic Chef line which included the Johnson and Airease brands. It is now owned by Lennox, but not the same quality as Lennox. Try and locate a Trane XV95 or Carrier Infinity furnace. You will be much happier with the logic in the boards and the dehumidification controls in their thermostats.
01-20-2011, 06:56 PM
Thanks I will make some calls tomorrow.
01-20-2011, 07:24 PM
Armstrong makes very good stuff in the top end. And a VS will save a lot of KWH's.
If we knew your climate, it would give us a better idea of your choice of 80% or 90+%.
In cold regions, 90+ will pay for itself in savings. Milder climates may never see a return. But the cost of LP gas may be good enough reason for 90+.
01-20-2011, 07:26 PM
I am in Southeastern Ontario, Canada. So I would say very similar climate to Northern New York State. We are about 1.5 hours away from the border.
01-20-2011, 11:58 PM
If you have a vertical flue stack available, I'd probably go with an 80% VS if the furnace is auxilliary/backup heat only. If you need to vent it horizontally, then you'll have to go to a 90+% furnace. You'll also need to consider how you'll handle the condensate if you're moving from 80% non-condensing to a 90+% condensing furnace. This can be a royal pain in freezing climates if you don't have a suitable condensate drain option available.
01-22-2011, 02:00 AM
Not sure on code issues and/or rebates in Ontario, but in Alberta, we no longer have the option of 80%. You could also be eligible for a rebate on the VS motor, due to electrical savings.
I would always go with the variable, and strongly recommend it to all my customers. It's super quiet and very efficient. This makes it a great choice for air filtration or dehumidification as well as keeping the temperatures around your home even.
Look into the Trane XV95: great furnace!
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