HVAC furnaces are heating systems used to heat buildings. They use either gas, electricity, oil, or coal as fuel. When you think of a furnace, what do you picture? If it’s electric, chances are it uses natural gas, while those powered by oil or coal might run on propane or even wood pellets. Regardless of the fuel type, there are three main furnaces on today’s market.
Types of HVAC Furnaces
Gas HVAC Furnaces
Gas furnaces are the most popular heating system used throughout North America. They use propane, natural gas, or oil to heat a building, keeping it warm during winter. In addition to being economical to operate, gas furnaces offer several advantages over traditional forced air systems.
Although slightly more expensive than electric models, new gas models are far more efficient, saving you cash on your monthly energy bills. According to the United States Department of Energy (DOI), many modern, high-efficiency models can reach 98.5 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This makes them the cheapest to run and perfect for homeowners living in colder climates where winters can be harsh. A natural gas furnace might be your best bet if your home receives natural gas.
If you want to save money upfront, purchase a midrange model with about 80–88 percent AFUE. These models typically cost anywhere from $1,700-$9,700, including the estimated installation rates. However, we did find one high-end model that could potentially save you upwards of $2,300.
Electric HVAC Furnaces
Rather than burning fuel, an electric furnace uses electricity to heat the air in your home. This heating system is much more energy efficient than traditional wood or coal-fired furnaces. Electric furnaces are also cheaper, cleaner to maintain, and often last up to 20 years.
Although they’re less efficient and more expensive to run than conventional gas or oil furnaces (which typically burn about 10% of the energy used), electric furnaces are better for the environment. They offer a long lifespan of around 15 to 20 years. They’re also easy to install, requiring little more than a few holes drilled into walls and ceilings.
An electric furnace might be a good choice for eco-friendly homeowners looking to save money without sacrificing comfort. They’re generally priced between $1,600-$6,200, including installation fees.
Oil HVAC Furnaces
Although oil furnaces were popular during the early to mid-twentieth century, they have become far less common due to natural gas’s abundance and lower prices. However, if your home is not connected to natural gas and wants a furnace that will help lower its energy bills more than electricity, consider one of these oil furnaces. These units typically have around 80%–85% efficiencies and include everything necessary to operate, including a blower, heat exchanger, fan, thermostat, controls, etc.
Keep in mind that the upfront cost for an oil furnace is usually higher than electric furnaces and includes labor and installation costs. Depending on the size of your home, it could take anywhere from 2–5 days to install an oil furnace. You can expect the total cost for an oil furnace to be between $4,300–10,000. A typical oil furnace runs about $1,000 per month to run.
Coal HVAC Furnaces
Furnaces are heating devices that use fire to heat the air inside a building. Wood furnaces are typically located outside, while coal furnaces are usually indoors. Coal furnaces are generally cheaper to operate than wood furnaces, but they produce more smoke and smell. A furnace needs fuel such as coal, oil, gas, or wood pellets. In addition to providing heat, furnaces provide hot water and steam.
Propane HVAC Furnaces
A propane furnace is a typical heating source in many parts of the world, especially in areas without access to natural gas. They typically use liquid propane stored under pressure in large tanks and burn it inside a metal cylinder called a burner head. A fan blows air over the flame, creating heat that radiates into the room.
The main advantage of propane over natural gas is that it is cheaper, though there are still significant costs involved in installation and maintenance. In addition, propane requires less space than natural gas and produces much fewer emissions. However, propane does produce carbon monoxide, which is toxic to humans. If you plan to install a propane furnace, ensure you know how to ventilate the tank area properly.
Mini-Split HVAC Systems
A mini-split system combines heating and cooling in a single unit. This air conditioning unit is typically installed in small spaces such as apartments, townhomes, and condominiums. Mini-splits are usually mounted onto wall studs or ceiling joists.
They can be bolted directly to existing walls and do not require ductwork, making them ideal for use in smaller buildings and home addition projects. Depending on the size and capacity of the unit, prices can vary widely.
Repairing or Replacing Your HVAC Furnaces
The decision to repair or replace your home heating system can seem overwhelming. After all, there are many different types of furnaces, each offering various features. And while some repairs might cost less than replacing the whole unit, others could cost much more.
When considering repairs, there’s a surprisingly simple formula widely accepted in the HVAC industry. Simply multiply the unit’s age times the average cost of repairs per year. If the number exceeds $5,000—or if you find yourself regularly having to fix the same system—you’ll want to replace it, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
If your system performs well or is under five years old, however, you will unlikely need to replace it soon. In either case, your local HVAC company can provide you with a Return on Investment (ROI) and Lifetime Cost Analysis to help inform your decision about whether to repair or replace.
Signs Your HVAC Furnace Needs Repair or Replacement
If you notice that your home is getting colder than usual, it might mean that your furnace needs maintenance. A furnace that doesn’t work correctly can cause your home to become uncomfortable, especially if you’re trying to keep warm while inside.
The average lifespan of a heating and cooling system is about 15 years. A lot depends on how well-maintained it is, though, especially if you live in a cold climate with harsh seasons. For example, if you’ve had your furnace for 10 years and haven’t repaired anything, it might start to break down sooner rather than later. And while replacing a furnace isn’t cheap, consider the cost of repairing one versus buying a new one.
Popping, banging, screeching, rattling, and squealing are just some of the sounds that you might hear coming from your home’s heating system. While most of us love the sound of our HVAC units, it can become quite annoying when they make noise. And while those noises are usually harmless, they can also indicate a severe problem.
If you notice loud or violent noises coming from your heater, here are three things you should know about it. First off, there are many different types of furnaces, each with a unique design. So if you hear strange noises, don’t assume they’re normal. If you’re unsure what type of furnace you have, call us at Quality Home HVAC, and we will help you diagnose the problem.
Second, if you hear these noises often, it might mean there’s something wrong with your air filter. You can check yours yourself by looking at the bottom of your furnace. It should say something like “filter required” or “cleaner needed,” depending on the brand. Cleaning your filter regularly helps keep your furnace running smoothly.
And finally, if you hear these kinds of noises every day, it could be because your unit is getting dirty. Dirt builds up over time, causing friction and making the metal parts rub together. This makes the unit run hotter and louder. To fix this, you can either hire a professional at Quality Home HVAC to come out and clean it.
Furnace Repair Costs 30% More Than Replacement
The average price of replacing a home air conditioning system is about $3,200, according to the HVACR Contractors Association. A typical homeowner might spend anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 on repairs, depending on the age of the unit and how much damage it sustained during the breakdown. For instance, a three-ton AC system that needs to be replaced because it stopped working correctly due to a leaky compressor could run $3,000-$7,000.
Inconsistent Indoor Air Temperatures
If you’re experiencing uneven heating and cooling throughout your home, there could be several causes. To determine what’s causing your issues, we’ll look at a few potential problems and how to fix each one.
One common cause of uneven heating and cooling is airflow. Inadequate airflow can lead to hot spots in some parts of the house while cold spots are in others. This could be due to a blocked vent, dirty filter, or faulty fan motor.
Blocked vents can be caused by debris buildup, grease buildup, or even pet hair getting stuck in the grille. Clean out the vents and make sure they aren’t clogged.
A dirty filter can prevent air from circulating correctly, leading to hot and cold spots. Replace your filters regularly.
Contact Quality Home HVAC For All Your Furnace Needs
Should you choose to replace your heating and cooling system, Quality Home HVAC is here to help you find the perfect solution for your home. By considering factors such as your house’s layout, current ductwork, and window count, your dealer can quickly determine what size of the furnace best suits your needs. Call us today at (970) 447-4151.
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