Your home’s furnace is the powerhouse of your heat— keeping warm air circulating so you can be toasty warm all winter long. And you don’t need to be an HVAC expert to know that having an efficient furnace is vital to keeping your home warm and your energy bills low.
However, most homeowners don’t know there are many types of furnaces, each with its own pros, cons, costs, and capabilities— it can be hard to know which one is best. But we’re going to help.
When you’re considering a new furnace, you want to think about:
- The size of your home
- The cost
- The fuel source
- And additional features of your furnace (humidifier, temperature control, etc.)
We’ll go over the four main types of furnaces to help you determine which one is best for your home and lifestyle.
The 4 Main Types of Furnaces (By Fuel Source)
There are four main fuel sources for your furnace: natural gas, electric, oil, or propane. There are wood-burning furnaces too, but they’re much less common for a whole home HVAC system due to being less efficient and requiring a lot more work. Meanwhile, natural gas furnaces are by far the most common type used in homes today.
1) Natural Gas
Natural gas furnaces require access to a municipal gas line. Your home definitely has one, especially if you use gas for your stove. It’s always best to have a professional install and repair a natural gas furnace for your safety. While a natural gas furnace might be more costly upfront, you get the benefit of more long-term cost savings when it comes to running, repairing, and maintaining this type of furnace.
Natural gas furnaces work by taking incoming air and heating it via a pilot light (flame) and blowing the newly warmed air throughout the ducts in your home.
Electric furnaces are similar to natural gas, but the heat exchange comes from electricity vs. gas-powered. An electric furnace pulls surrounding air into the system, heats it using electrical heating units, and then forces it out through your air ducts. It’s a simple system, and while it costs less to install, maintenance costs can be more expensive because of the higher cost parts to maintain and repair them.
Oil furnaces are quite common in the Northeastern United States or areas where there is less easy access to natural gas. They may also be great for remote areas or cabins which aren’t always using the furnace, but can be turned on when needed. Oil furnaces can last a really long time as well, upwards of 25, 30, or even 40 years with proper maintenance and repair.
The heat exchange process on an oil furnace is very interesting:
- A fuel pump carries the necessary amount of oil to the heat exchanger (or heat chamber) and converts the oil into a mist.
- That oil mist sprays on the burner element.
- The burner heats up the incoming air supply.
- The warm air circulates throughout your home’s ducts.
The one downfall of this furnace type is that you need to keep a full oil tank ready at all times. If it goes empty, it will dry up your furnace and damage the system.
Propane furnaces cost less than natural gas furnaces, but they aren’t nearly as efficient. This type of furnace usually works best for cabins, RVs, or other structures that can utilize propane gas for short-term purposes. A propane furnace works very similarly to a natural gas furnace, but it’s just turning liquid propane into a gas that can then heat the incoming air and circulate it through the system.
The type of furnace you choose might greatly depend on what your existing system relies on, or even what other appliances in your home rely on. For example, if you have an electric stove, maybe you want to consider an electric furnace. If you have a gas stove and have the proper gas hook-ups for your new furnace, that’s a very viable option.
No matter what, Aquarius Home Services can always help you determine which one is best for you, your budget, and your desired level of maintenance.
The Professional Furnace Repairs and Installation You Need
When the time comes to get a new furnace, you can rely on Aquarius Home Services. With no money-down options and opportunities for energy rebates, you can’t go wrong! Our team can repair, replace, install, and maintain your furnace, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Our HVAC professional will come to your home to discuss your best options and offer you a reliable, cost-effective furnace. When you’re ready to take the next step, give us a call!