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Trane S9X1 Furnace Review: An Affordable, Efficient Furnace

Reliable. Efficient. Affordable. The Trane S9X1 furnace offers straightforward, efficient heating without breaking the bank.

Trane S9X1 Furnace Review: An Affordable, Efficient Furnace

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Joshua Rodriguez


January 17th, 2021

If you’re looking for a reliable, efficient and affordable furnace, the Trane S9X1 furnace could be a great option for you!

The Trane S9X1 furnace offers straightforward, reliable heating without breaking the bank. And if you have a high gas bill or want to decrease your environmental impact, the S9X1 may be able to help.

At Fire & Ice, we help hundreds of Central Ohio residents find the best HVAC equipment to fit their needs and lifestyles.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Trane S9X1 furnace, including the final cost, features and benefits. By the end of this article, you’ll know whether or not the Trane S9X1 furnace is a good fit for you.

Overview of the Trane S9X1 Furnace

The Trane S9X1 offers straightforward, efficient heating. The S9X1 can address high energy costs and environmental concerns, and it can be a great choice if you’re on a budget.

Trane designed the S9X1 furnace to efficiently and reliably heat your home during the cold winter months.

Features of the Trane S9X1 Furnace

The Trane S9X1 furnace is a single-stage, fixed-speed, high-efficiency gas furnace. If that just sounds like a mouthful of jargon right now, don’t worry – we’ll cover all of these in this section.

The core features of the Trane S9X1 furnace include:

  • A single-stage gas valve
  • An efficient blower motor
  • A secondary heat exchanger
  • A smaller, insulated furnace cabinet

Comparing the Trane S9X1 Furnace

See how the Trane S9X1 Furnace stacks up to other comparable units.

Product S9X2 59TP6 S9X1 58TN S9B1
Brand Trane Carrier Trane Carrier Trane
Efficiency (AFUE) 96 96.5 96 80 92.1
Blower Motor ECM Multi-Speed ECM-Variable Speed ECM Multi-Speed ECM-Variable Speed ECM Multi-Speed
Gas Valve 2 Stage 2-stage 1 Stage 2-stage 1 Stage
Humidity Control No No No No No
Sound Insulated Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Cabinet Air Leakage < 1%   < 1%   > 2%
Communicating No No No Yes No

Single-Stage Gas Valve

A furnace’s gas valve supplies it with fuel, which, in this case, is natural gas. But the gas valve also controls your furnace’s heating output, also known as staging.

Furnaces can have one of three types of staging:

  1. Single-stage
  2. Two-stage
  3. Modulating

Single-stage furnaces like the S9X1 have one output setting: 100%. This means that when the S9X1 isn’t off, it’s running at maximum capacity.

Meanwhile, two-stage furnaces and modulating furnaces can adjust their heating output. Two-stage furnaces have two output settings: 100% and a lower setting that’s typically around 60-70% capacity. Modulating furnaces can have between 5-100 settings that can range between 40% capacity and 100%. Two-stage furnaces and modulating furnaces are both multi-stage furnaces.

A furnace’s staging affects its runtime. When operating properly, all furnaces run until the air near your thermostat reaches the temperature you set your thermostat to. But if you have a multi-story home, your furnace also must run long enough to heat your home’s other floors. If you have a large home, your furnace must run long enough to heat the rooms farthest from your HVAC system.

Multi-stage furnaces can adjust their heating output to increase their runtime and precisely maintain the temperature throughout your home. But because the S9X1 only has one capacity setting, it would shut off once your thermostat registers the set temperature. This can result in uneven temperatures in multi-story homes and large homes.

Single-stage furnaces present advantages and disadvantages. But as is the case with most HVAC equipment, these advantages and disadvantages depend on your home and your needs.

Single-stage furnaces like the S9X1 are typically the least complicated. While this means that you have less control over the temperature in your home, you may not need a more complex furnace to meet your heating needs.

Manufacturers design multi-stage furnaces (including two-stage furnaces and modulating furnaces) to address additional heating issues and boost comfort.

Heating issues include:

  • Hot and cold spots
  • Uneven temperatures between floors
  • Temperature spikes

If you currently have a single-stage furnace and you’re satisfied with its performance, you’ll likely be satisfied with the S9X1’s performance.

But you do have heating issues with your current system, a multi-stage furnace may be able to better address these issues.

If you’d like to learn more about different staging options for furnaces, check out the video below or this article that breaks down each type of staging and how it can affect your home.

Efficient Blower Motor

Your furnace’s blower motor is responsible for circulating air throughout your home year-round.

The Trane S9X1 furnace has an ECM blower motor with Trane’s patented blower design.

ECMs motors can be over 20% more efficient than PCS motors, a type of blower motor that furnace manufacturers frequently used before the U.S. Department of Energy’s most recent furnace fan efficiency standard went into effect.

And Trane’s Vortica II blower design helps circulate air throughout your home even more efficiently.

Your HVAC partner can also program the S9X1’s ECM motors – and this can change your comfort year-round. Depending on the type of climate you live in, your HVAC partner can customize your blower motor’s speed to enhance your air conditioner and furnace’s performance.

Secondary Heat Exchanger

While all furnaces have one heat exchanger, high-efficiency furnaces like the Trane S9X1 have two heat exchangers.

During the home heating cycle, your furnace’s burners heat the heat exchanger. Then, your system draws air over the heat exchanger, heating it.

If you have a standard efficiency furnace, the conditioned air then travels through your ductwork, and your system exhausts waste gases into the atmosphere.

For high-efficiency furnaces like the S9X1, there’s an extra step. Instead of immediately exhausting waste gases created during the home heating cycle, the S9X1 uses these gases to heat its secondary heat exchanger. The secondary heat exchanger also heats the air that travels through your ductwork.

The S9X1’s secondary heat exchanger allows it to make the most out of the fuel it consumes. This means the S9X1 can heat your home more efficiently than a furnace with one heat exchanger.

We’ll talk about the S9X1’s efficiency a little later in this article. But to learn more about how gas furnaces work, check out the video below or this article that breaks down the home heating cycle.

Smaller Furnace Cabinet

Like the other furnaces in Trane’s S-Series, the Trane S9X1 is 34 inches tall. This can make the S9X1 a great option if you have space constraints, like lower ceilings.

However, a smaller furnace cabinet also increases your HVAC system’s static pressure.

Static pressure is essentially your HVAC system’s blood pressure. Just like your body, your HVAC system needs to be under pressure to adequately heat and cool your home. But if your system’s static pressure becomes too high, your system may struggle to move conditioned air throughout your home.

Fortunately, there are a few options that can help cut down on static pressure for the S9X1.

One option is to place the S9X1 on a platform. This allows for better airflow between the S9X1 and the filtration system. But if you have lower ceilings, this may not be the best option.

Another option is to install a wraparound component to help improve airflow without competing for space.

If you feel that the S9X1 is otherwise a good fit for your home, your HVAC partner should be able to adjust it without compromising airflow.

Insulated Furnace Cabinet

The Trane S9X1’s heavy steel insulated furnace cabinet serves two purposes:

  1. Conserve the heat you pay for
  2. Cut down on operation noise

The S9X1’s heavy steel insulated cabinet helps conserve more of the heat you pay for by cutting down on air leakage. When installed properly, as little as 1% of the air in the S9X1’s furnace cabinet escapes. This means more of the heat your furnace produces can go where it’s needed most.

Its insulated cabinet also helps cut down on the amount of noise the S9X1 makes while running.

However, this may not make the S9X1 quiet enough if your current furnace is located near your living and/or sleeping areas.

Because single-stage furnaces like the Trane S9X1 can only run at 100% capacity, they’re generally the loudest furnaces manufactured today. But many modern single-stage furnaces are still typically less noisy than older models.

Trane S9X1 Furnace Installation Manual

If you want to learn more about the system, check out the S9X1’s installation manual.

Trane S9X1 furnace installation manual

Installation manuals can give you a glimpse into the process your HVAC partner should follow while installing your S9X1.

You can also get a better idea of the installation considerations for the S9X1.

How Efficient Is the Trane S9X1 Furnace?

The Trane S9X1 is 96% efficient. But what does it mean for a furnace to be 96% efficient?

Manufacturers score furnace efficiency using Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, ratings.

AFUE ratings describe the percentage of fuel that your furnace uses to actually heat your home. So a 96% efficient furnace like the Trane S9X1 can use up to 96% of the fuel it consumes to heat your home. The rest is exhausted in the form of waste gases.

High-efficiency furnaces have AFUE ratings of 90% or higher. The most efficient furnaces can be up to 98% efficient.

However, high-efficiency furnaces require a specific type of flue system known as direct venting to comply with manufacturer specifications and local building codes.

Direct venting requires your HVAC partner to run two PVC pipes from your furnace to the exterior of your home. One PVC pipe draws fresh air from outside. The other PVC pipe exhausts waste gases into the atmosphere. Each PVC pipe is around 2-3 inches in diameter.

To install these PVC pipes, your HVAC partner must be able to properly position the pipes and cut holes into the exterior of your home.

This isn’t always ideal if you have a finished basement or if you don’t want the PVC pipes visible on your home’s exterior. If this is the case, a standard efficiency furnace like the Trane S8X2 may be a better fit for you.

Which Air Conditioner Can I Pair with the Trane S9X1?

The Trane S9X1 can work well with any single-stage or two-stage air conditioner.

The S9X1 can’t support variable-capacity air conditioners or communicating air conditioners.

How Much Does the Trane S9X1 Furnace Cost?

The Trane S9X1 furnace typically costs between $4,290 - $5,500. This includes labor costs, permits and other fees.

For context, replacement furnaces generally cost between $3,000 - $8,400. This accounts for the cost of equipment, labor and fees as well as various capacities and efficiency levels.

But when we talk about a price range for a specific furnace model, there’s one main factor: the size your furnace must be to adequately heat your home.

In this case, size refers to the power or capacity of your furnace. But this is one aspect of your furnace that you can’t really choose.

The size of your furnace is based on the challenges your furnace needs to overcome to adequately heat your home.

In order to accurately size your home, your HVAC partner must perform an in-depth load calculation. And load calculations require more than just the total square footage of your home.

To learn more about load calculations, check out this article that breaks down what it takes to properly size your HVAC equipment.

Who’s a Good Fit for the Trane S9X1 Furnace?

The Trane S9X1 can be a great option if:

  • You have a high gas bill and/or want to decrease your environmental impact
  • You want straightforward, reliable heating
  • You don’t currently have issues with airflow
  • You don’t currently have issues with hot and cold spots
  • You’re looking for a budget-friendly furnace

These factors depend on the system you currently have. If you currently have a single-stage furnace and you’re satisfied with its performance, then the Trane S9X1 furnace can be a great option for your home.

The Trane S9X1 furnace can be a great fit if your existing single-stage furnace already meets your heating needs, but you want a more efficient model.

However, the Trane S9X1 furnace may not be a good fit for you if:

  • Your HVAC contractor can’t feasibly install the proper flue system
  • You have issues with airflow
  • You have issues with hot and cold spots
  • You want a quiet furnace

Choosing the Right Furnace for You

Finding the right furnace for you and your home can be difficult. The good news is that you have options.

To help you evaluate your options, we created a guide to Trane gas furnaces. This guide breaks down the costs and features of 12 Trane furnaces.

Your HVAC partner can help you narrow down those options based on your needs, your home and your budget.

If you’re still trying to figure out the best furnace model for you, check out this article that breaks down the top three factors that affect your options.

If you’d prefer to meet with a comfort specialist to discuss your options, we’d love to help you find the best fit for you!

At Fire & Ice, we take the time to understand your comfort concerns. This allows us to customize your system to your needs and preferences.

To schedule your free in-home estimate, enter your zip code below. We look forward to meeting with you!

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