A furnace warms up your home by burning fuel and then directing the produced heat in various rooms through a duct network. It comprises of four main parts, which are the combustion chamber or burner, heat exchanger, blower, and vent.
The fuel is burnt in the combustion chamber, and from there, the generated heat is transferred to the air supply system. If any harmful gases are produced in combustion, they are expelled out of the system and into outside air through the vent. The blower forces heated air into the duct network which then warms up connecting rooms.
The efficiency of a furnace is measured using AFUE, an abbreviation for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This value is often used for comparing various furnaces.
Several furnace types exist in the market; let’s take a look at some common ones.
As the name implies, a gas furnace generates heat by burning natural gas. The heat is sufficient to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the house in the cold winter months. A gas furnace distributes heat evenly and doesn’t produce noise while functioning. However, your home should have ductwork so that heat can be transferred and spread throughout.
Several models of a gas furnace feature a double vent system which cycles fresh air inside the house, maintaining an acceptable level of indoor air quality. They are also more affordable than an electric heater but can incur costs later on, if natural gas is a pricey utility in your region. Gas furnaces have an AFUE value of around 95%.
An electric furnace produces heat using electricity and is the simplest furnace to install. Plus, it can be used at any place with an electric power supply. Just like gas, electric furnaces are characterized by high AFUE values but can increase your monthly bills. Still, electric furnaces are a popular choice because of the low upfront costs.
A floor furnace does not use the standard duct network in homes. Instead, the furnace is installed beneath the floor. The generated heat is then transferred through grills in the floor. A floor furnace performs best if it is installed at a central location, where foot traffic isn’t heavy.
Generally, older and smaller homes use floor furnace. You can also use them if you are renovating a house that doesn’t already have a ductwork. Doing so may allow you to save money. The efficiency of a floor furnace is lower than other available types.
A wall furnace is installed inside the walls of your home; however, outer walls are more preferred. The unit protrudes some inches into the house. a wall furnace is usually used in a smaller home or when a new part or room of the house is constructed, to which the already installed heating system cannot reach.
An oil furnace produces heat by burning oil. These were popular initially, but are now used less because oil is expensive. Oil furnaces feature high efficiency, so they are still a preferred choice of many.