What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?

Furnaces remain the most popular choice for home heating due to their high efficiency, low operating noise, long lifespans, compatibility, and more. Furnaces have great flexibility—there’s almost always a furnace to fit a home.

Also referred to as a forced air system, the furnace acts as the core of your home’s central air system, used for creating warm air as well as participating in the cooling process.

Furnaces can use natural gas, propane, heating oil, or electricity to heat your home. After the air is heated, it enters your living spaces through the web of ductwork. You will usually find the furnace in basements, attics, closets, or crawlspaces.

Before you choose a new furnace for your home, make sure you speak with the experts at Service Champions. There are many factors to take into consideration when installing a new furnace.

To help you know which types of furnaces are available to you, learn more about the different types of furnace.

3 Different Furnace Types

Gas Furnace

The most common type of furnace in homes today is the natural gas furnace, which uses gas piped in from the municipal line. Gas jets along a burner ignite to create the hot combustion gas that raises the temperature of air, which fans then circulate through the ducts. Gas furnaces are effective at creating even heating and do not cost much to run because of the competitive price of gas compared to other forms of fuel.

Oil Furnace

If you don’t have access to natural gas, you may need to fuel your furnace with oil. Most commonly used in cold environments mainly in the northeastern United States, oil furnaces convert oil to heat.

Keep in mind that gas furnaces are almost always more efficient than oil furnaces. Typical AFUE ratings for gas furnaces are around 88-98 percent while oil furnaces are around 80-90 percent.

Electric Furnace

If you don’t have a natural gas line coming into your house, you can instead rely on an electric-powered furnace. These systems use electric heating elements to provide the heat that transfers to the air. Electric furnaces are usually inexpensive to purchase up front and are smaller than other furnaces, making them easy to fit into most spaces.

Like oil furnaces, electric furnaces tend to be a lot less efficient, but they can be the right choice in some scenarios.

Heat pumps, while not a furnace, run on electricity and can heat and cool your home. Many people choose to use a heat pump in conjunction with a furnace, sometimes called hybrid heating, to improve comfort and efficiency. In areas with mild winters, however, you may be perfectly fine with no furnace and just a heat pump.

Modulating Furnace

Modulating furnaces cost more, but you may find the benefits worth it. A modulating furnace adjusts the amount of gas it burns in order to reach the thermostat’s target temperature.

This allows it to more accurately pinpoint the temperature, usually with only a ½°F margin of error. (Other furnaces can be off by 4-6°F.) Modulating furnaces will not waste energy from continually shutting off and on, but instead run steadily at lower energy levels. You’ll still get the heating you want, but with less power required.

When shopping for a new furnace, don’t simply replace it with something similar. Your home has specific heating requirements, and one furnace may offer you superior performance and savings over the others. Service Champions can give you the guidance you need to find the best furnace for your home.

Service Champions is known for trustworthy, on-time heating and air conditioning service throughout the East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.

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