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Aren’t All Furnaces Basically the Same?

inside-gas-furnaceWelcome to March! The month when winter officially ends. But the weather never obeys any “official” dates, and we can still expect chilly weather to come our way. You’re home heating system in Cherry Hill, NJ still has some work ahead. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t begin to plan to put in a new furnace if your current one is nearing the end of its service life.

Why give any thought to a new furnace? Aren’t they all basically the same?

Not at all! Furnaces all work on the same principle: they heat up air, which a blower fan then sends into the ventilation system. But furnace models have many differences. They can run from a variety of fuel sources, use different methods to transfer heat into the air, and have a range of features affecting performance and energy efficiency. We’ll take a look at some of these important furnace variations.

Energy Source

You may have already thought of this one. Furnaces can run from different types of energy. They once primarily burned wood or coal. Today, the commonest energy sources are natural gas, liquid propane, and electricity. Natural gas is the most common type of furnace found in U.S. homes because these furnaces are inexpensive to run and have a high heating output. Electric furnaces are costly to run, but they’re less pricey to purchase up front and tend to last longer. Any home can use an electric furnace, where only homes with gas lines can take advantage of a natural gas furnace.

Atmospheric vs. Sealed Combustion

The combustion chamber of a gas furnace is the place where the burners ignite to create the combustion gas to heat the air. The burners require an intake of air to light. In an atmospheric combustion furnace, which has been the standard in homes for decades, this air is drawn from outside the furnace. A sealed combustion furnace has the combustion chamber closed off to the house and draws air through a pipe from the outside. Sealed combustion furnaces have higher energy efficiency and won’t dry out the air in the house.

Single-Stage vs. Multi-Stage

The conventional furnace is single-stage, which means the gas burners are either on or they’re off. A multi-stage furnace can stagger the power of the burners. This helps the furnace consume less energy, since it will run at lower capacity the majority of the time.

Condensing Furnace

This is a type of high-efficiency gas furnace. Instead of directly venting exhaust gases from the heat exchanger up a flue, it sends the gases to a second heat exchanger, where the vapor is condensed to release even more heat. The furnaces with the highest AFUE rating (efficiency rating) are usually condensing furnaces.

If you’re considering a furnace replacement this coming season, the best way to choose a model that matches your needs is to work with our professionals. We’re able to work faster and at a lower cost than many larger local HVAC contractors. We do what’s required for a fair price and as quickly as possible.

Gibson Heating & Cooling serves Burlington, Camden Counties, NJ and Bucks County, PA.

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