What Type of Furnace Do I Have?
Do you know what heating system you have in your home? Some people may think it’s not necessary to be aware of this, at least not until there’s a problem. Also, furnaces are typically found in closets, basements, crawl spaces, or attics, which are areas that can easily be ignored. However, knowing what type of furnace you have can actually benefit you in the long run.
Most homes rely on furnaces for their heat, and keep in mind that there are more types of furnaces than you may have realized. When you know what type of furnace you have, you’ll have a better idea of how to properly maintain it. And this will lead to lower heating costs, better comfort, fewer repairs, and a longer life for your furnace. Read on to see how to identify what type of furnace you have and the advantages of each type as well.
When you first ask yourself, “What type of furnace do I have?” you’ll see that a main way to differentiate them is by fuel types. Fuel types include electricity, gas, propane, and oil. Some can use coal or wood, but this is rarer. In most furnaces, the fuel is mixed with air. The warmed-up air is then distributed throughout your home via ductwork and vents. Most modern furnaces have forced air, where a fan is used to force the air through the ductwork.
If you live in an older home, it may have an oil furnace. Some choose this if they don’t have access to renewable fuels. You would likely already know if you have an oil furnace because it would need to regularly be serviced by a fuel delivery company. They are also more commonly found in the northeast area of the United States. The downside of oil furnaces is that they’re less efficient than gas furnaces.
While gas furnaces have pipes, electric furnaces have cables. In electric furnaces, there are usually about three to seven heated electric resistance coils. The air is moved through these heated coils and then to the ductwork system. If there isn’t a natural gas line through where you live, electric furnaces can be a great option. They’re typically better for houses in areas with less severe climates. Electric furnaces can cost less upfront. And they’re usually smaller, which means they can easily fit into more spaces in your home.
Most furnaces are gas, and while natural gas is the most popular fuel source, if it’s not available, then propane or LP gas can be used instead. One reason gas furnaces may be more ubiquitous is because they’re more efficient than electric or oil furnaces. Gas and electric furnaces are both known for having fairly quiet operating systems.
There are also three different types of gas furnaces. These are single-stage furnaces, two-stage furnaces, and modulating furnaces. No matter which you have, they’re all known for being reliable for your home heating needs. But each type of furnace also comes with its own pros and cons.
Single-stage furnaces only have one type of operation, on or off. These can be less efficient than some more modern furnace types, and some find that they are also noisier. On the other hand, however, they’re also the least expensive of these three gas furnaces. Single-stage furnaces are very widely used, though they may offer less comfort.
Two-stage furnaces have two different settings to adjust the valve’s flow of gas, which can be high or low, or full or half-speed. This means you can have more control over the temperature in your home. They also tend to be quieter.
The third type of gas furnace has been around for less time than single- or two-stage furnaces and wasn’t available until the technology was advanced enough. That would be modulating furnaces, which evenly regulate the temperature and output. This type of furnace works by adjusting the amount of gas burned so it can reach the thermostat’s target temperature. Because of this, it more accurately pinpoints the temperature than single- or two-stage furnaces. It’s an especially great choice for areas with colder weather.
While these furnaces can sometimes be more expensive upfront, they can ultimately help you save on energy costs. And they’ll provide the optimal comfort. Because they only use as much gas as necessary, modulating furnaces are also one of the most energy-efficient options overall. Another advantage is that modulating furnaces have a variable-speed blower. This means the airflow will be varied enough to evenly heat your home.
An alternative to furnaces is heat pumps, which run on electricity. These are normally found in areas with more mild climates that aren’t as prone to extreme weather. They work year-round and can both heat and cool your home. What sets them apart is that heat pumps extract outside air. They usually include a compressor, both indoor and outdoor coils, and a thermostat.
While some houses just use a heat pump, others use it along with a furnace, for what can be known as a hybrid heating system. Some find that hybrid heating is more comfortable and efficient than just using one or the other type of heating.
No matter what type of furnace you have, you can trust Entek for the best-quality service. We provide services to the Longview and Vancouver-Portland areas, and we’re the longest service Carrier Provider in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to our service, we also carry products, including heat pumps, water heaters, thermostats, and the high-efficiency furnaces we sell.
Thanks to advances in technology, today’s furnaces are more energy-efficient than ever, and the latest models will use about 30 percent less energy than older furnaces. This will allow you to save money on your energy bills. You can find more information about Entek on our website.