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If you're considering a furnace upgrade, it's important to do some research before making such a big purchase. You have a lot of options to choose from, and one of the things you'll have to decide is whether you want single or two stage heating.

What's the Difference Between Single and Two Stage? 

When a single stage furnace turns on, it runs at full capacity until the desired temperature is reached, and then it shuts off. A two stage furnace has another--lower--speed. This is the speed that the furnace uses most of the time.

The difference between single and two stage heating is most obvious on moderately cool days. A single stage furnace will give your home more variation in temperature while it goes on and off to maintain a reasonably warm temperature. A two stage furnace will use only its lower capacity mode on days that aren't too cold, providing less temperature fluctuation. This is also helpful if you're concerned about ways to save energy.

What Are the Benefits of two Stage Heating?

  • The slower flow of air can help your air filter catch more of the allergy-causing contaminants floating throughout your home.
  • Your heating system can operate more quietly for the majority of the time.
  • It provides a steadier supply of warm air, so your home will stay closer to your desired temperature with less fluctuation.

Is There a Difference in Terms of Wear and Tear?

Because two stage furnaces have time to warm up before going into high gear, they're subject to less stress than single stage systems. This means with regular tune-ups, a two stage system will last for many years to come.

Interested in investing in a new heating system for your home? Contact  Gilman Heating & Cooling, and we'll be happy to help.

You may have one in your home, but you may still be wondering what is a forced-air furnace. By learning exactly what it is and how it works, you can better see that it's maintained and maximize its efficiency.

What is a Forced-Air Furnace?

A forced-air furnace heats air and disperses it throughout your home via ductwork and vents. Forced-air furnaces heat air in various ways, including by burning natural gas, propane or heating oil, or less often with electricity. Most of today's forced-air furnaces are energy efficient and their blowers can be used to distribute cool air from the A/C in the summer.


How Energy Efficient Are Forced-Air Furnaces?

A forced-air furnace's efficiency is measured by its annual fuel utilization efficiency. AFUE shows how much of the fuel or energy going into a furnace gets converted into heat for your home. An AFUE of 90 percent means that 90 percent of the energy is used as heat, and only 10 percent is wasted, usually up the chimney. Older furnaces can have an efficiency as low as 60 to 70 percent. High-efficiency condensing furnaces, on the other hand, feature AFUE percentages ranging from 90 to 98 percent.

Replacing Your Forced-Air Furnace

Replacing your furnace isn't especially complicated, but you do need the expertise of an HVAC-system professional. He or she can not only help you choose the right model, but also:


  • Properly size your new furnace for your home.
  • Ensure proper ductwork design and installation.
  • Perform a combustion-efficiency test.

How Much Does a Forced-Air Furnace Cost?

The actual cost of a new furnace depends on the product selected, efficiency rating, installation and other factors. Typical cost ranges include:


  • $750 to $1,500 for a wall furnace.
  • $1,500 to $2,000 for a floor furnace.
  • $3,000 to $6,000 for a typical natural gas, propane or oil furnace. High-efficiency furnaces can cost up $10,000.

For more information about forced-air furnaces, please contact us at Gilman Heating & Cooling. Since 1917, we've proudly served homeowners in and around the Richmond area.







With the holidays coming up, people are planning their winter vacations. As part of your vacation planning, make sure you take precautions to protect your home and heating system. You'll not only protect your home, but also save energy. Here are some things to consider.


Set your thermostat at about 50 degrees to keep your appliances and pipes from freezing. If you have a programmable thermostat that adjusts by date, set the temperature back to normal for the day you expect to return home.

Water Heater

Turn off the circuit breaker to your water heater. If you have a gas heater, turn off the gas valve. When you return home, run your hot water tap before you turn on the power and gas to ensure that your water tank is full. Turning on your water heater while the water tank is empty can damage the unit.

To keep water from freezing in the lines and tank, set the water heater at the lowest possible temperature--the vacation setting.


Unplug every unnecessary appliance and electronic device. That means the televisions, lamps, entertainment center, electric razors, coffee makers and phone chargers. These are energy vampires that drain energy even when you're not using them.

Automatic Light Devices

Use timers to have one or two lights go on at specific times. You might also want a radio to go on. Vary the times to deter burglars who might assume that your home isn't occupied.


You could empty your refrigerator, keep the door open, and place a box of baking soda inside. Alternatively, you could set the temperature at 42 degrees and your freezer at 5 degrees.

Other things you should do include:

  • Secure sliding glass.
  • Ask a to friend look in occasionally.
  • Lock up.
  • Move valuables away from windows where burglars can spot them.

For more information about protecting your home and heating system while on you're on vacation, contact Gilman Heating and Cooling. For nearly 100 hundred years, we've proudly served the residents of Ashland, Chesterfield, Glen Allen, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond.

Purchasing a high efficiency furnace is a good way for homeowners to be more environmentally friendly and save a lot of money on heating bills. Unfortunately, you can wind up disappointed with your choice if your home isn't properly sealed and insulated. Even the most efficient system on the market can't entirely overcome those deficiencies. To make sure you're getting the most from your high efficiency furnace, take steps to make your home as weathertight as possible. The first step might be scheduling a home energy audit with a professional inspector.  The auditor will come to your home, inspect all rooms, the crawl space--or basement--and attic and will use special methods and tools, like a blower door test or a thermographic camera, to find the spots in the house where insulation is missing or drafts are coming in. Once you know where the problem areas are, you can begin to make the repairs that will help your furnace optimize its efficiency. An essential factor in keeping a house heated is insulation. Check out the insulation aisle at your home-improvement store, and you'll find that you have quite a few options. Your home energy auditor or heating and cooling specialist can help you decide on the best option for your home. Once you get your bearings, put insulating the attic at the top of your to-do list. This is where your home can lose quite a bit of heated air and where heat can radiate in during the summer. It is also essential to make sure your home is sealed. One small leak can make a big difference in how hard your furnace has to work.  Most people realize that there are often gaps around doors and windows, but they may not realize that cold air can also come in through electrical outlets, exhaust vents and baseboards. Use caulk and weatherstripping to seal any trouble spots. For more information or a consultation to make sure your high efficiency furnace is achieving its potential, contact Gilman Heating & Cooling. We serve homeowners throughout the Richmond area.

As cooler weather settles in, and nights get nippy, many Richmond-area homeowners are beginning to think about getting the furnace cranked up for the season. But what if the furnace won't start? Those first few chilly nights of the season are a common time for furnace problems, especially if pre-season maintenance hasn't been done. If your furnace was working well when you last used it, chances are good that it's something simple. Here are a few common issues to look into before you call for repairs.

  • Check your thermostat: Make sure that the thermostat is set on "heat," and the setting is several degrees above the temperature in the home. If your thermostat is digital, a flashing error message or a blank screen is an obvious sign of trouble.
  • Check the power supply to the furnace: When a gas furnace won't start, the problem is quite often an electrical one. Make sure that the unit's main cut-off switch, or SSU switch, which is typically on a wall near the furnace, is in the “on” position. Then check your circuit breakers to see if any have been tripped, cutting power to the furnace.
  • Check the pilot: In an older system equipped with one, the standing pilot light is often the reason a gas furnace won't start. To check, open the combustion chamber access door. If the pilot is lit, you'll see its small flame. If not, turn off the pilot light's gas valve, and allow a few minutes for any standing gas to clear. Then follow the directions you'll find on or near the pilot assembly to relight the flame. If it won't light or stay lit, call your HVAC technician.

If your furnace won't start, and you've done all the simple things, it's time for some professional help. If you're in the Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover or Glen Allen area, contact Gilman Heating & Cooling. We've been serving the home comfort needs of customers in our area since 1917.

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