Your home is unique, and so are its needs when it comes to heating. There are different types of furnaces available to choose from, ensuring you have the most effective and efficient heating solution for your home at any time. Learning the basics of these furnace types can help you make the most informed decision when the time comes to replace your old unit with something more up to date.
The Role of Your Home’s Furnace
Your home’s furnace is an integral part of its forced-air system. It works to create warm air when the temperatures outside plummet and play a crucial role in cooling air during the warmer months. The furnace uses natural gas, electricity, propane, or oil to bring the air to the appropriate temperature and then pushes it throughout your home using a series of ductwork. The temperature stays steady by adhering to the settings on your thermostat, giving you direct control over your furnace and its operations at all times.
Choosing the right furnace is critical to ensuring efficiency within your home within the coming years, allowing you to make the most of your investment in the long run. The furnace type you use should depend on both your home and your budget.
These furnaces work by piping in gas pulled from the municipal line. Inside your furnace, a series of gas jets located along the burner combusts the natural gas, which creates hot air, which is then pushed through the ducts using your furnace’s blower fan. The process offers an excellent balance of effectiveness and efficiency, making it a definite go-to for many homes in some areas of the United States.
Gas furnaces are among the most commonly used in the United States, and for a good reason. When it comes to overall efficiency, these furnaces are around 33 percent more efficient than other popular options, with a whopping efficiency rating of 98 percent on newer models. This bump to efficiency means saving $30 or more per year on energy expenses for many homes.
These furnaces are incredibly popular in southern states that don’t see severe cold temperatures during the winter months. While natural gas furnaces are the best of the best for efficiency, even the newer models don’t have quite as much power as some other options on the market, making it less ideal for homes in regions that see extremely low winter temperatures.
For those who do not have access to a natural gas line, electric furnaces are the next best go-to option. These models don’t rely on burning fuel to power their operations, instead of using several electric heating elements to create the warm air you feel throughout your home. You might think this means a more efficient, environmentally friendly overall product, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
Because the cost of electricity can vary so much from region to region, the cost of running an electric furnace can be considerable in some parts of the country, far outstripping the monthly operational costs of other furnace types. This is perhaps the least efficient option available for homes due to your monthly electricity bill’s often large sum.
However, electric furnaces are certainly not without their benefits. While they are the most inefficient in the long run, they are also by far the cheapest to purchase and install, sometimes costing less than half of a new natural gas furnace. Along with this decreased cost comes an increased life expectancy. When properly maintained, electric furnaces are expected to last up to 10 years longer than other furnaces. They’re also far smaller than other furnaces, making them the best option for small spaces where placing a furnace might otherwise be challenging.
If gas is not accessible, and an electric furnace doesn’t seem like the right fit, propane-powered furnaces are reliable. Propane, a by-product of oil and gas production, can be stored in tanks on your property. Lines leading from the tank to your home allow appliances like your furnace to draw on the propane’s power to accomplish the same task as natural gas, oil, or electricity.
It’s estimated that around 9.4 million homes in the US use propane to fuel their furnaces throughout the year, making it one of the more popular approaches to heating a home.