Different Furnace Types: Which One Should You Buy for Your Home?

A home high efficiency furnace with a residential gas water heater & humidifier.

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With winter in full swing, everyone recognizes the importance of having heat pump through your home on a chilly day. If you’re tired of everyone adjusting the thermostat on your air conditioner, you should know that there’s more at play than personal preference. If you find yourself bumping up the temperature yet never feeling as warm as you’d like, this could indicate trouble with your furnace. 

Even if you don’t need to check your thermostat all the time, you should still check your furnace periodically. You may find that it’s time for maintenance or even replacement. That said, there are a few different options to consider when purchasing a new furnace. Depending on your household, one type of heating system could suit you better than another. 

The Furnace Basics

While there are several different types of furnaces, they all serve the same function in your household: ensuring warm air and comfort. Your furnace is a crucial element of your HVAC system that allows you to heat air via various operations and fuel sources. A fan activates and moves the warm air through your ductwork to distribute the flow of air throughout your home. (If your home lacks air ducts, we can help you with that, too.) 

Once the desired temperature is reached, the entire system shuts off via limit switches.

Although this may sound like a simple process, there are many types of furnaces to choose from that operate differently and utilize different sources of fuel. Here’s a breakdown of the furnaces you may come across in your search for a new one. 

Different Types of Furnaces by Operation

Infographic showing different types of furnaces for homes

Single-Stage Furnace

A single-stage furnace has just one stage of operation, which could potentially call for temperature fluctuations within your home. Ultimately, this is the most basic of the different types of furnaces. However, a single-stage furnace is affordable and easy to install in any home.

Two-Stage Furnace

This type of furnace is more efficient and distributes warm air evenly throughout households. Two-stage furnaces offer more control since the homeowner can choose between full-speed and half-speed settings. These furnaces are typically the quietest of all furnace types and make for a great selection.

Variable Speed or Modulating Furnace

Not only is this furnace type energy-efficient, but it also improves indoor air quality. A variable-speed blower has several speed controls and can also regulate heat output depending on the temperature outside of the home. However, given all its features, a modulating furnace often has a higher upfront cost than the furnace types listed above. But in the long run, it may prove to have the lowest operating cost.

Types of Furnaces by Fuel Source

Gas Furnace

Natural gas furnaces are the most common types of furnaces in America. With this type of furnace, gas is distributed through a natural gas line to ensure reliable heating year-round. Gas furnaces are also the most affordable compared to the different types of furnaces available on the market. 

Infographic showing different types of fuel source furnaces

Oil Furnace

If your home lacks access to pipelines that can efficiently distribute gas, then an oil furnace is most likely the best furnace for you. Oil-powered furnaces have a long lifespan and can be very cost-effective. However, these furnaces require homeowners to stock up on oil to function. Oil furnaces also typically require more maintenance than gas furnaces and will play a role in determining your overall furnace costs.

Propane Furnace

Although propane-powered furnaces aren’t the most common in the U.S., they’re great selections for those without direct access to natural gas pipelines or those who don’t wish to spend too much on oil reserves. Propane is easy to find and purchase, making this type of furnace a solid choice for environmentally-conscious homeowners looking for more green energy sources.

Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces are the most affordable alternative to gas, oil, and propane-powered furnaces. These appliances are relatively small compared with their counterparts, decreasing overall efficiency. However, electric furnaces are still a good choice for those without access to gas pipelines. 

Do You Need a New Furnace? Contact your HVAC specialist.

Professional HVAC installation is necessary regardless of the type of furnace you select for your home. Local technicians can also help you decide which heating source or air conditioning system is best for you. We’ll determine the right furnace for the size of your home, your ceiling height, and your budget. We can help you navigate the overwhelming waters of annual fuel utilization efficiency, BTUs, and warranties.

For inquiries regarding furnace installation, maintenance, or repair, contact Home Comfort USA today—and don’t forget to ask about our high-efficiency home heating systems to reduce your energy bills. 

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