2 stage vs. 3 stage furnace

aab99bAugust 6, 2009

I have gotten several bids for replacing our furnace and have narrowed it down to the best two.

The first bid is for a Trane 2 stage, variable speed, 95% efficient model. It comes with a new programmable thermostat.

The second bid is for a Carrier 3 stage, variable speed that is also 95% efficient.

I understand that there is a great deal of difference between a single stage and a two stage, but I am unsure if there is a great difference between a two and three stage. The second bid doesn't come with a new thermostat, but the one we currently have is digital and seems to be in good working order. The bids are within $5 of each other. I would appreciate any insight as to which is the better buying decision. Also, I realize that the person who installs the system is the most important component. Both companies have good ratings from the BBB, and the reviews I can find are favorable.

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what area of the country do you live?

both of these are nice furnaces. with the two stg XV95 Trane, you need one of the following two stg stats; Trane's 803 or identical HW Vision Pro Mdl or HW Vision Pro IAQ. With the Carrier three stg ICS furnace, you must have the matching Infinity controller-no substitute.

You don't want to cripple either of these furnaces with the wrong stat.

price, warranty, and comfort with the dealer would drive my decision although Carrier with the Infinity controller would be my choice.

what are you doing about either an AC or HP condenser?


    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 7:40AM
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And don't forget to offer whichever contractor you choose 10 or 20 percent less than their bid, unless the money isn't important to you. The bids aren't scientific - they add a mark-up of around 20% to the equipment, guess-timate the labor, and add a pad to make absolutely sure they come out well to the good and help cover their 'off' days.
If they say 'no' to your offer, ask them to justify it by breaking down material and labor. Then you can have an intelligent discussion about the bid.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 2:58PM
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It would be very sad if a Carrier dealer was pushing the 3 stage with existing stat. They should be used with the Infinity control!!!!!

Like tiger said, the XV95 should have a good 2 stage stat on it as well.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 4:40PM
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Thank you for all of the help and advice. I didn't know the thermostat was such an important component.
I live in Pittsburgh, PA.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 7:58AM
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We have a Trane AC already installed. It is an older model, but still functioning fine, and doesn't get too much use.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 8:09AM
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I'm not in hvac, but johnax is right. I always try to guess high on the labor just in case I run into something unexpected, which usually happens. You never know exactly what you're gonna run into. It's not as shady as he makes it sound. I plan for everything going smoothly and add a couple hours because nothing ever goes exactly to plan.

Here is a link that might be useful: Furnace filters

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:51PM
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