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Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Variable speed furnace - Can it be noisier?


I live in Northern CA.  From the quotes I received, pretty much all of the contractors that came out suggested that I go for a 2 stage multi-speed 80% efficiency furnace.

I read that variable speed furnaces would be quieter, but one contractor in particular warned me against it.  He said my current system is a downflow (I have a 2 story home) and it blows the air down into the crawlspace underneath the house which then is forced to travel up to the 2nd story.  The furnace is in a closet in the family room.

The contractor said that with the configuration of my house (built in the 1970's), that a variable speed could run into issues and be confused into blowing on a higher speed to compensate for any blockage, sharp turns, etc in the downflow configuration which would generate a lot of noise.  He suggested going for a multi-speed instead.

Is this correct? Everywhere I've read says that the variable speed would be quieter.  

Should I go for the variable speed or multi-speed?

Hi Kari,

You didn't say you were having any problems with air flow to second floor, so I will assume your duct work is ok. That being said, I would go for the variable speed. Not only being quieter, you house will be more comfortable. The most important thing is make sure they size the blower the same as the old furnace. If they don't size it correctly then you will have a noise issue.

If you can get me the model# on the furnace and A/C unit I can tell you what size it is.

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC

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Jim S.


I can answer questions on gas or electric furnaces, ac units and heat pumps. I don't work on boilers,chillers,or home appliances.


I have been in the HVAC trade for over 35 years. For the past 15 years I have owned my own business. I am semi-retired so I can answer questions in a timely manner.

I attended trade school for 5 years on weekends and evenings. This was very hard to do, but well worth it!

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