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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    70
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    So, I am getting quotes to replace my furnace (Minnesota). First recommends the Lennox G61V; the second recommends the Brant Plu 90i. So far, so good; they are both two-stage, variable-speed blower models with comparable efficiency. Here is where I get confused.
    The Lennox guy claims that a single-stage thermostat is all that is needed. The furnace automatically runs for a set time at low and then kicks up to high, and this will satisfy all needs. I am doubtful.

    The Bryant guy claims his furnace has a patented control board that learns from how often the thermostat calls for heat and adjusts the low-high cycle accordingly (perhaps even eliminating the low cycle period to fire off immediately at high). He states this is better (than Lennox) and will work great with a single-stage thermostat. He practically blanches when I tell him that we set our night-time temperature to 55 with the call to come back to 68 at 6:30 a.m. (via an older setback Honeywell Chronotherm). Something like "this furnace is designed to work for keeping the temperature at a more even level (not more than, say, 5 degrees between night and day) and might not be a good choice for your setabck." (By the way, the house gently coasts down in temperature at night; I doubt that it ever reaches below 60 before the calls for morning heat are issued).

    OK, so my questions are:

    First -- It seems that to really get the most out of either of these furnaces, I need a two-stage thermostat. It seems that the ability to cycle low-high-low for variable times is much better than the low-high-off cycle with set time intervals. What are opinions on this? Does the Bryant smart controller subsitute for a smart (i.e., two-stage) thermostat?

    Second -- How will such furnaces react to a large setback at night? I would think that the thermostat (especially a smart one) would gradually ask for heat to come back in the morning, so it shouldn't matter much. Again, what is your opinion on this? Is a large setback a problem for two-stage furnaces? If so, would a two-stage thermostat remedy the problem?

    Finally -- I know someone will yell at me for this (for asking an equipment-specific question), but is the modulating Rheem furnace a notably superior performer over two-stage furnaces in these situations? Or, do the issues of control and thermostats become messy to the point of over-complexity? I have tried to get quotes from a few Rheem dealers, but they have not been so cooperative (one would not venture 20 miles across town to install; one promised to call back to schedule a consult but never did), which really turns me off.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    35,742
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    Most of us agree that a 2 stage stat is the way to go. The Bryant does have some logic on staging itself rather than a fixed timer but last I knew, the max on low was 16 minutes. I want a 2 stage furnace to run virtually constantly on low in bitter weather (which you have plenty of) to make sure the place is very comfy.

    The Rheem Mod is a very reliable furnace. It has 1 extra wire besides a normal system, that's a signal from the stat to the control to decide how high to fire. For Minnesota, it is the perfect furnace.

    Setback poses no more problem for 2 stage than single stage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    70,248
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    Just as baldie said, 2 stage furnace 2 stage stat.

    Modulating furnace, modulating stat.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    61
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    you mentioned setbacks...if you in recovery mode you do not want to start on low fire (limping along) for the first 10-15 before getting into 2nd stage.

    Two stage t-stat for sure will give you more comfort.

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