The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Furnaces

Indoor heating is essential to the comfort and even health of the occupants of a house during winter. The core of any heating system is the furnace, which in most homes is located somewhere outside the main house or in the basement. This is so as to keep it out of the way but also for safety purposes. Whether you are moving into a new place and have to install a new furnace or you just wish to overhaul your current one, there are considerations to make before you go to the shop.

Types of Furnaces

Broadly speaking, there are two available types of furnaces. There is the traditional furnace and the two stage furnace. The traditional furnace, also called the single stage furnace, is either full on or completely off. This is to say that when it is on, it operates at maximum heat output and there is no way to regulate that because there is no provision for medium heat.

The two stage furnace is an improvement of this. In one setting, it can run like the traditional furnace but in the other, it allows for a reduced heat output when the temperature is not very low. If puzzling over which furnace to buy between these two, consider the following advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-stage Furnace

A two stage furnace is considered quieter. This is because it runs at a functionality of 75-80 percent most of the time. Lower fan speed means less noise. It maintains a more constant temperature without dips and spikes. This kind of furnace also saves energy because it runs on the lower setting most of the time. Even with these advantages, it is said to have two key disadvantages:

  • High upfront costs – It was made to improve upon the traditional furnace. It is therefore comes as no surprise that it is more expensive than the traditional furnace.
  • It breaks down more often – Unlike a traditional furnace which goes off when the weather is moderate to warm, a two stage furnace keeps running at that low setting. Running almost constantly causes wear and tear and may lead to frequent breakdowns.

Advantages of Traditional Furnace

It may not be possible to regulate the level of heating with a traditional furnace. However, it is the go to furnace when working on a budget because it is cheaper. It also breaks down less often than the two stage furnace. Besides, modern single stage furnaces have been remodeled to make them energy efficient. This should go a long way to reduce heating costs.

Other factors to consider before purchasing a furnace are:

  • Type of fuel – If you have no gas connection or if it is interrupted often, you might want to go for an electric furnace instead of a gas furnace.
  • Prevailing weather – Consider where you live. If it is customary to have extremely cold winters, then the traditional furnace might be the best because you will have no need for the low heat setting.

The type of furnace you install should be determined by the needs of your household and those in it. Seek the help of a contractor so that they can advise on the appropriate type and even size of furnace.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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