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modulating gas furnace benefits comparison chart

Modulating versus two-stage versus single-stage gas furnaces

Armstrong Versus Tempstar Gas FurnaceComparison of Armstrong and Tempstar Gas FurnacesIn this comparison of brands we chose Armstrong versus Tempstar gas furnace premium models. The brand models represent the best those brands have to offer currently. The specific model numbers for these gas furnaces are:
  • Armstrong A97MV Gas Furnace
  • Tempstar Ion™ 98 Gas Furnace
Both the Armstrong and the Tempstar gas furnaces are comparable in efficiency and features with slight differences. When we compare models of various brands we want to determine what is best for the consumer and the value of the appliance. When the comparison is this similar it will come down pricing of the equipment and quality of the contractor. Let’s compare components and warranties and see how they measure up.

Armstrong Versus Tempstar Gas Furnace

Armstrong Versus Tempstar Gas Furnace 
Armstrong Versus Tempstar Gas Furnace
Armstrong Versus Tempstar Premium Gas Furnace Models Comparison Matrix
Armstrong A97MV Gas FurnaceTempstar Ion™ 98 Gas Furnace
Up to 97% AFUEUp to 98% AFUE efficiency rating
ENERGY STAR® certifiedENERGY STAR® certified
Variable-Speed ECMVariable-Speed ECM
ModulatingModulating
Thermostat flexibility that works with the Comfort Sync T-Stat or a
conventional 24V T-Stat
Compatible thermostat: Ion™ System Control for full function and efficiency capability, Wi-Fi® remote access convenience and intelligent diagnostics
EHX™ Technology Heat ExchangerRPJ® (Rigid Press Joint) Primary Heat Exchanger
EHX™ Technology Secondary Heat ExchangerStainless Steel Secondary Heat Exchanger
No current info on Igniter typeDirect Spark Gas Ignition
Self-Diagnosing Control Board - Saves last 10 fault codes even under power failureIntelligent Diagnostics
10-year limited warranty on parts and a limited lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger10-year limited warranty on parts and a limited lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger to original owner.* No Hassle Replacement™ Limited Warranty*
Dual Fuel CapableDual Fuel Capable

Operating Performance and Efficiency

energy star gas furnacesAs you can see from the top these are very similar in components and even in the warranties. Both are Energy Star rated furnaces and while one is 98% AFUE and the other is 97% AFUE it’s nearly the same. Only a slight difference in efficiency which means return on investment will also be slight from the Armstrong to the Tempstar with the Tempstar furnace having the slight edge. Both systems have ECM variable speed blower motors which offers enhancements to the modulating operation and for a matching high efficiency air conditioning system in a split system. That is provided it is controlled properly which means the set up is very important. That typically comes down to the installation contractor and how well they train their technicians.Speaking of set up for a new gas furnace we move to control. Control for a new gas furnace is important. Either thermostat can be used with a conventional thermostat and both thermostats offering communicating thermostat features. This feature will require you to make a choice between a conventional thermostat or a communicating thermostat. The choice here is that if something goes wrong with the communicating thermostat you have to purchase a new one from the dealer. Whereas, if the conventional thermostat goes bad you can buy one off the shelf at a hardware store. This decision, for me, would depend on the warranty and quality and dependability of the contractor.

Heat Exchanger and Diagnostics

For high efficiency condensing furnaces like these two you want a good heat exchanger. Condensing gas furnaces create a lot of condensation from the combustion process. This condensation is highly corrosive and that can lead to premature heat exchanger failure. Most of the moisture from the combustion process ends up in the secondary heat exchanger where it is attached to a drain so it can be drained off. It typically uses the same drain as the evaporator coil from the air conditioner. Either way, both systems have stainless steal heat exchangers which resist corrosion and does its job of absorb the heat from the combustion process. Both manufacturers have you covered with a lifetime limited warranty for the heat exchangers. Tempstar has an extra in their lifetime warranty with a no hassle replacement.Diagnostics are important when something goes wrong. As with any piece of equipment that has moving parts and electrical connections things with go bad over time. When whatever goes bad with your furnace (hopefully it won’t) then you want quick and efficient service and troubleshooting. Good furnace diagnostics help a technician solve problems quicker so the repair can be done in a timely manner. Leaving downtime to a minimum so you can get you heat back in service. Both the Tempstar gas furnace and the Armstrong gas furnace offer advanced diagnostics to help facilitate this process when something goes wrong.

Warranties

Gas Burners for a FurnaceAs mentioned above, I thing the Tempstar has the edge for the warranties as they offer a no hassle lifetime replacement for the heat exchanger. Either way, both have lifetime limited warranties on heat exchangers so you are covered for the heat exchangers in these furnaces. The other components are covered under a 10-year limited warranty. We always recommend buyers read the warranties that come with your new equipment and understand everything about the warranty. The conventional warranties offered by most manufacturers only include the part and not labor. With higher efficient equipment, such as the gas furnaces listed here, we recommend purchasing an extended parts and labor warranty if available.

Dual Fuel Gas Furnace Capabilities

What is dual fuel? Dual fuel is when a gas furnace is paired with a heat pump. A heat pump offers both heating and cooling using the refrigeration process. Air source heat pumps typically use electric heat strips for back heat. Back up heat for a heat pump is necessary for the defrost mode. A heat pump, in the winter, will accumulate frost or ice on the outside unit. This frost or ice needs to be removed. To facilitate this, all air source heat pumps have a defrost mode.While electric heat is 100% efficient it typically will cost more to produce this type of heat. To save money, a gas furnace is used in place of electric heat strips. When the heat pump kicks into defrost mode the gas furnace is used for heat instead of electric heat strips. With people who live in areas where electricity costs are at a premium it also allows you to switch to gas heating. These systems usually do cost more upfront for installation but can save you on monthly utility bills when used wisely. Of course, proper installation is required It is very important that this system is installed and set up properly by a qualified technician. That means contractor selection is more important than brand.

Armstrong Versus Tempstar Gas Furnace Conclusion

The Tempstar gas furnace in this comparison has a slight edge over the Armstrong gas furnace. However, as noted throughout this comparison, brand or even slight edges doesn’t make up the difference for finding a good qualified contractor that will install the gas furnace properly. This is super important for not only the efficiency of the new system but also the longevity of the system. A system that is not installed properly will give you problems throughout the shortened life of the system. In other words, it will be a headache and typically it will cost you lots of money. This is a part of the reason why we recommend you purchase an extended parts and labor warranty if it is available from the manufacturer.High Performance HVAC Heating & cooling

Armstrong Versus Tempstar Gas Furnace

 

Resource: The Home Comfort Book: The ultimate guide to creating a comfortable, healthy, long lasting, and efficient home


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