With winter fast approaching, it’s time to start preparing for the cold months ahead. Although it’s not uncommon to have some 50-degree days in the middle of November, it’s not going to last long. Preparing ahead of time and knowing what options you have available to heat your homes can help relieve stress, save time, and costly repairs before you’re caught without working heat. Whether you’re building your dream home and looking at your different furnace options or are looking into getting a new furnace, Rowbel Services is here to help.
Here, you’ll read all about the different types of furnaces and how they work. You’ll also be able to read about some of the factors to consider before purchasing a furnace, and how the general furnace installation process goes. Lastly, you’ll learn about the different furnace and HVAC services that Rowbel Services can offer to you! We’d love to help you out.
Different Types of Furnaces
There are four main types of furnaces that you have to choose from when looking for a new furnace. Here, you’ll read about those types as well as how they work so you have a better understanding of them.
Natural Gas Furnace
A natural gas furnace is a furnace that functions off a natural gas line for fuel. For some people, a natural gas furnace may be a cheap option if your home already has a natural gas line running to it.
This type of furnace works by natural gas being ignited inside of the furnace’s burner. The flames produced by the gas power a heat exchanger, which heats cold air that is pushed inside the home from outside. Gas furnaces have a flue pipe, which is a way that the exhaust safely leaves your home without letting poisonous gas circulate throughout your home.
Although natural gas furnaces are more expensive to purchase than other types of furnaces, they cost less to operate.
Oil furnaces are furnaces that function on oil as a fuel source. They’re designed for colder climates and can withstand a lot of winter elements in these climates.
This type of furnace functions a little differently than a natural gas, electric, or propane furnace. First, the thermostat senses that the temperature in your home is below a set point. Then a fuel pump draws oil from a tank through a filter where it goes into what’s called a burner chamber. In the burner chamber, the oil is turned into a fine mist that’s sprayed on the burner. The chamber then ignites, reaching extremely high temperatures.
Cold air is then pulled through the furnace and over the hot burner chamber. Because of the burner’s high temperatures, the air heats up, is pushed through air ducts and vents, and dispersed throughout your home until the air reaches the temp you programmed it at.
As you may be able to guess by now, electric furnace functions off electricity as a fuel source. It may be helpful to think of an electric furnace as a hair dryer!
First, the furnace pulls cold air into the unit and sends it through what’s called a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger has electrical elements that heat up automatically, which warms up the air inside it. After the air reaches the desired temperature, it’s pushed into the ductwork and vents in your home, therefore heating it.
Electric furnaces are considered to be a safe type of furnace because they can’t possibly produce carbon monoxide, which is a very toxic gas. They’re also incredibly energy efficient because they use all the electricity provided to them.
Propane furnaces use liquid propane as a fuel source to function. If you’ve ever driven past houses and seen a large tank outside or near the home, there’s a high likelihood that it’s a propane tank that’s used to fuel the home.
With a propane furnace, liquid propane is drawn inside the unit. This liquid is then heated into a gas where it moves across a heat exchanger until it reaches a predetermined temperature. Next, a blower blows the heat across the heat exchanger, where it’s dispersed into your home’s ducts and vents, heating up your home.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Furnace
Now that you know about the different types of furnaces, you can begin making your decision on what you want to get. Here are some things to keep in mind on your search for the best furnace that fits your home.
Climate Where You Live
Where you live is a big factor that plays a role in the type of furnace you decide to purchase. Certain furnace types are built to withstand colder climates, while others are designed for warmer climates that don’t typically experience below-freezing temperatures.
If you live in a warmer winter climate, it’s recommended that you choose an electric furnace or gas furnace because they’re energy-efficient and don’t need to heat up to extreme temperatures.
If you live in a cold climate, oil furnaces or propane furnaces work the best, although you can really choose any type you prefer. Oil furnaces are built to last and heat up the most, although they are the most expensive type.
Age of Your Home
If you’ve got an older home, chances are it’s probably not fitted with a state-of-the-line heating system. Older homes tend to function off older HVAC technology, and it’s generally wise to leave it that way. Most older homes use heat pumps or radiators to heat certain rooms inside the house. If you want to have a furnace installed in your home, an electric furnace is the best type because it’s energy efficient and doesn’t produce carbon monoxide.
For newer homes, the type of furnace you choose generally depends on personal preference. If your home is located by propane or natural gas lines, it’s probably best to choose one of those types for convenience.
Did you know that there’s an actual measurement for how efficient a furnace is? Efficiency is measured by something called annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE for short). The higher the furnace’s AFUE rating, the more efficient it’ll be.
As a general rule of thumb, furnaces with higher AFUE ratings are cheaper to run. In fact, certain geographical areas require you to install furnaces with a specific AFUE rating by law! We recommend looking for the most efficient furnace you can find, while still abiding by the laws and codes of your area.
Size of the Furnace and Where You’ll Install It
Another determining factor of what type of furnace you’re going to buy is how big it is and where you plan on having it installed. If you have a lot of space to work with, you can really buy any type of furnace. However, if you have a smaller home, it may be wise to stick with an electric furnace or propane furnace, as they’re smaller.
The four main types of furnaces all involve different manufacturing and installation costs. The most expensive furnace type is an oil furnace. Gas furnaces lie somewhere in the middle, and electric furnaces cost the least to install (but you will likely pay the difference in your monthly electric bill).
If you’ve got a larger budget and can accommodate an oil reserve tank, an oil furnace may be a good choice. If you’re looking for a budget furnace, maybe look into different gas or electric furnaces.
The Installation Process
Whether you’re going to install your own furnace or hire a team of experts to install it for you, here’s an overview of what you can expect when you are looking to install your new furnace.
Step One: Ensure Proper Ventilation Throughout Your Home
The preparation steps before installing a furnace are some of the most important steps of the whole process. First, you’ll want to ensure the ductwork and vents throughout your home are properly cleaned and free from any dust and debris. This allows you to get the most out of your furnace when you have it installed.
Step Two (Optional): Prepare the Old Furnace For Removal
This step applies to homes that have old furnaces that are being replaced. If you are building a home that’ll have a fresh furnace installed, skip on down to step three!
Make sure everything is powered down and shut off on your old furnace. After this, disconnect all the lines, tubes, and everything else so the unit is mobile. Also, have a plan on where you’re disposing of your old furnace to ensure a safe and swift removal process.
Step Three: Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions
Now, you’ll want to carefully look at the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the new furnace installation. Even if you have someone else installing your furnace for you, it may be helpful for you to take a quick glance at the instructions so you know what to expect.
The instructions will tell you everything you need to know about installing your furnace, including the materials needed, any preparation steps, how to install it, testing it, and troubleshooting if need be.
Step Four: Prepare the Installation Site, Gather the Necessary Tools
After reading over the instructions, you’ll want to prepare the installation site. This includes making sure you or the furnace installers have the proper room to work on installing your furnace as well as disconnecting and disassembling old furnace lines.
You’ll also want to prepare all the tools you need ahead of time. This way, you’ll be fully prepared for the installation and won’t be confused when you need to grab certain tools or parts.
Step Five: Properly Position the Furnace
Now you’ll properly position the furnace. We recommend placing the furnace a foot or two in front of where it’s going to go, so you still have enough room to connect all the wires, lines, and tubes to the backend of it.
Step Six: Begin Electrical Connections
You’re now ready to begin your electrical connections. The first thing you’ll do is shut off all power to the furnace breaker you’re using, so you don’t accidentally electrocute yourself. Specific connection instructions are located in the furnace’s instruction manual. There may even be how-to videos online for your specific furnace model.
Step Seven: Connect the Gas Line and Condensate Line
After finishing the electrical connections, you’re going to install and connect the gas and condensate lines to the furnace in their proper locations. Specific locations are located in the instruction manual.
Step Eight: Connect Other Tubes
If your furnace has a flue line, this is when you’ll install it and properly seat it. As with all tubing, ensure the tubes have adequate space to properly pump materials through them. They shouldn’t be pinched or damaged in any way.
Step Nine: Test the Furnace
Finally, you’re going to test your furnace. Make sure that it works as it’s supposed to and follow any troubleshooting steps as listed in your manual if you run into any problems. It’s crucial that you test your new furnace so you are good to go as soon as the cold weather hits.
Consider Rowbel Services For Your Furnace Needs
We understand that installing a furnace by yourself is hard work, complicated, and stressful to say the least. That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry! If you don’t think you can install your furnace, that’s okay. The team here at Rowbel Services would love to help you out with all your furnace needs. Whether you need a new furnace installed or a regular tune-up, we’ve got you covered.
With an average of 5 out of 5 stars on Google, we’ve got plenty of happy customers that can attest to the services we provide. Additionally, we’ve got years of experience and passionate team members that care about taking care of your home in the times when you need it the most. If you’re interested in our furnace services, contact us here for a free estimate today! We can’t wait to hear from you.
Wrapping Things Up
When it’s cold and you’re trying to stay warm, the last thing you want to worry about is that you chose the wrong type of furnace for your home. After reading, you’re hopefully equipped with the knowledge to make a confident decision about the best type of furnace to fit your home. As always, if you need any help at all, Rowbel Services is here to help you out! Don’t hesitate to contact us for your furnace needs.