What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?
This winter, you’re hoping to have a brand new furnace to keep you warm. But there are so many furnaces to choose from. You’re left wondering, which is the right one for your Boulder home?
Furnaces are available in many shapes, sizes, and price points. The best choice will come down to your home’s size and heating needs. To find the perfect fit, schedule a preliminary visit with one of our Efficient Comfort specialists. They can audit your Colorado home to determine the size of furnace you need. From there, you can narrow it down until you’ve found the perfect heating unit for your home requirements and budget.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technology has become much more efficient in the past decade. You’ll be pleased to know that today’s gas furnaces burn at an efficiency rating as high as 97 percent, according to Consumer Reports. That means you could be paying considerably less on your monthly utility bill when you make the switch.
Furnaces by Speed Settings
Furnaces can be categorized by how they operate. Some furnaces have a simpler setup, running at one speed. Others offer two or more speed settings, which can help you achieve a more consistent indoor temperature.
Single-stage furnaces have just two settings: “On” and “Off.” Once it’s on, the blowers run at one speed, until your thermostat detects the desired temperature and ends the cycle.
Single-stage heaters have the most affordable upfront cost. They are also the easiest to install. However, they use more energy than more advanced models. That’s because they have to power on and off so frequently.
Additionally, single-stages don’t always heat as evenly. Homeowners may experience a difference of 4 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit between rooms.
Two-stage furnaces have two settings: full-speed and half-speed. This allows your furnace to heat your home more evenly, producing a more uniform temperature. In addition to producing better heating, the half-speed setting is much quieter.
Variable-speed furnaces are much more nimble, dynamically adjusting their speed to create the perfect amount of heat. They are incredibly accurate—every room in your home will be within half a degree of your thermostat setting.
Besides making your home so comfortable, they’ll help you save on your monthly finances. They are incredibly efficient since they use the minimum amount of power required to heat your home. Though they cost more upfront, it pays off in long-term savings.
When it comes to indoor air quality (IAQ), variable speed furnaces are the platinum option. That’s because they provide round-the-clock ventilation and filtration, catching harmful particles and eliminating moisture that causes mold growth.
Furnaces by Fuel Type
You can also think about furnaces in terms of their fuel type. Most modern furnaces run on natural gas. However, other options are available in areas without gas lines.
Gas furnaces run on fuel delivered to your home via a natural gas line. The furnace’s burner ignites the gas, which warms the air in the heat exchanger. From there, the warm air gets distributed through your ductwork. One benefit to natural gas is that its price point remains relatively stable. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about storage.
Oil furnaces are common alternatives in parts of the United States where natural gas lines don’t reach. Oil furnaces run on tanks of oil, which the owner needs to purchase and replace. Oil furnaces are less expensive upfront than gas furnaces and last twice as long on average. However, they are less efficient. Additionally, oil prices shift rapidly, making it harder to gauge your month-to-month expenses. Plus, you will need somewhere to store the oil tank.
Electric Furnaces are yet another alternative to natural gas heaters. Instead of heating through combustion, they use electric heating elements that warm the air. Unlike their oil-powered counterparts, they don’t require the owner to refuel them. On the downside, they are less efficient than gas furnaces. And when the cost of electricity goes up, so does your heating bill.