What Are The Different Types of Furnaces?

Finding the best furnace for your home

Even if you live in a region where temperatures don’t normally fall below the freezing point, having a furnace installed in your home is probably essential for your well-being and comfort. A properly functioning furnace is the safeguard that keeps you and your family warm on those cold winter days and ensures proper air circulation throughout your house.

Although there are many different kinds of furnaces, their basic functioning is similar. Each device warms air by one means or another, and a fan sends it through a duct system to spread it through your residence. The heating mechanism is triggered by a thermostat that can be set to the desired temperature. When all the components are working in harmony, the result is a cozy home.

Precisely how this result is achieved depends on the type of furnace that is in place. If you’re thinking of upgrading your current heating system or installing one in a new construction, it’s important to consider your range of options and the advantages of each. Furnaces are primarily categorized by the sort of fuel they use to produce heat.

Electric Furnace

Thanks to their compact nature and straightforward mode of operation, electric furnaces are highly popular. They utilize a heating element to transfer heat, which is in turn circulated throughout the rooms in a building. If the idea of regularly refilling a propane tank isn’t appealing, or if there is no natural gas connection in your area, you should consider installing an electric furnace.

Although they are smaller and better suited to installation in a compact space, especially when compared to gas furnaces, electric furnaces can increase your energy bills significantly. However, they remain much cheaper to operate than oil furnaces. Since the operational costs of heating with electricity tend to be higher than those for heating with gas, electric furnaces are usually only recommended for colder areas. In these colder regions, however, the lower installation cost of an electric heating system can offset the other expenses. It is one of the easiest types of furnaces to install.

In addition, an electric furnace can deliver more years of useful service than a gas type. What’s more, an electric heating system completely negates any worries about toxic fume emissions and gas leaks. With all that said, gas furnaces are generally considered to be more efficient.

Natural Gas Furnace

Natural gas furnaces are the most commonly used type of heating appliances in the U.S. These furnaces have jets of natural gas distributed along a gas ring to create a directional flame that heats the air, which is then circulated by the system to various rooms and spaces. Due to their efficiency in providing reliable warmth, they can be found in close to 50% of all homes in the country.

Modern natural gas furnaces have an efficiency rating of up to 98%, which is almost perfect. Older units are less efficient, of course, and if you have one of those in your home, it might be time to upgrade. As efficient as they are, though, natural gas heaters are more expensive to operate than electric ones.

One of the great advantages of using gas to heat is that it’s one of the cleanest forms of energy. On the other hand, there is a danger of leaks from the natural gas itself as well as from carbon monoxide. You should have a professional technician install safety detection devices to mitigate the risks. Although a gas furnace tends to remain relatively clean and require less maintenance overall, professional maintenance is still recommended. For any of these services related to your heating system, you can rely on Air Max HVAC, Inc in Burbank.

Before purchasing a gas furnace, you’ll have to choose from one of three kinds. The first is a single-stage furnace. These have a single mode of operation – on or off. First developed decades ago, they are noisier and less efficient than more recent innovations. They simply run at full capacity when the temperature falls below the setting on the thermostat.

A two-stage furnace operates using high or low settings and can be optimally adjusted to run efficiently, depending on demands. When there is a temperature change in your home, a two-stage furnace will switch to using less energy to match the required condition.

The modulating furnace is the most recent innovation in this category. It automatically maintains a consistent temperature by regulating the amount of heat produced. This type of furnace might be expensive to buy, but it can save you a lot on your energy bills. These models are also quite efficient and designed to provide maximum comfort.

Propane Furnace

Propane is a by-product of processing natural gas or refining petroleum, and it can be used for heating just as natural gas is. There is a significant difference, however. Natural gas requires an infrastructure of pipes for delivery. Since propane is a gas at standard pressure and temperature but a liquid when compressed for transport, it can be delivered to areas where such an infrastructure doesn’t exist. Approximately 10% of households in the U.S. use propane furnaces to warm the air circulating in their homes. These furnaces are just as effective as any other type of gas furnaces, but they require regular replacement of the tank. If your home has no direct connection with a natural gas line, a propane furnace may be your best bet. Propane furnaces heat fast and produce a lot of warmth. They are highly effective, and when compared to oil, their carbon footprint is incredibly low.

Oil Furnace

If you are a bit constrained by your budget and don’t want to make the investment for a natural gas furnace, you might consider installing an oil furnace in your home. On average, you will spend about 25% less than you would to put in a natural gas furnace.

Since oil is not a flammable substance in a liquified state, the furnace vaporizes the oil to produce heat that is distributed to keep you comfortable and warm. This vaporization occurs when the temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is worth noting, however, that oil furnaces are not nearly as efficient as either gas or electric furnaces. Their typical AFUE ratings stand between 80% and 90%, while gas furnaces deliver between 88% and 98% efficiency.

Another big disadvantage is their frequent need for maintenance. Consistent use of an oil furnace leads to the development of carbon and soot deposits on the heat exchanger. This requires regular cleaning to maintain the efficiency of the equipment. In addition, the owner needs to occasionally clean or replace the burner nozzle as well as the filters. This is necessary to rid the system of impurities and prevent the potential risk of fire.

Like propane furnaces, oil heaters require an on-site tank for storage. These furnaces may produce a lot of heat, but operating them is relatively expensive, and they have the largest carbon footprint. On the other hand, they can last for more than three decades if properly maintained.

Rely on Professional Expertise

Deciding on the type of furnace to purchase can seem quite daunting, particularly if you are a first-time buyer. Fortunately, the team from Air Max HVAC, Inc specializes in a variety of heating and air conditioning services in Burbank and the surrounding areas, and we’d be happy to help. If you’re located anywhere in Burbank, Beverly Hills, Thousand Oaks, or Mission Hills, call us today to arrange a consultation. When you do, expect exceptional expertise and customer support. Our technicians can handle any make or model, but we stock a wide inventory of innovative Lennox products. Our technicians perform installations, maintenance, and repairs for all heating and cooling equipment. Besides that, you can count on us for all your indoor air quality needs, including audits, ventilation, filtration, purification, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and germicidal lights. Whatever your indoor comfort requirements, we can assist.

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