What Are the Different Furnace Types? Which One Is Best for Your Home?

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Whether you’re replacing an old furnace, installing one for the first time, or curious about how your furnace works, homeowners need to know the different types of furnaces that are available. Choosing the right furnace size and type for your home can be daunting, but rest assured our HVAC experts are here to help.

Different Types of Furnaces

Furnaces differ by heating type and fuel source. Heating types can be single-stage, multi-stage, or modulating—which refers to the furnace’s temperature regulation. Fuel sources can be electric, natural gas, oil, or propane, depending upon how heat is generated. Below are explanations of what each furnace type means. 

Single Stage Furnace

For the single-stage category of furnace types, we’re looking at how the system regulates a home’s temperature. Single-stage furnaces only have two settings: on and off. This means that when heating is required, the furnace will turn on at its maximum heat level, and when the home is warm enough, it turns off. 

Most older furnace units are single-stage, and they tend to be the most affordable. The downside is that they can be noisy and lacking in energy efficiency.

Multi Stage Furnaces

Multi-stage furnaces, or two-stage furnaces, have two heating settings. When your home needs the most heat, they turn on at the high setting. Then, when your home is warm enough, they switch to a low setting to maintain the temperature. This allows for a more efficient form of heating than a constant maximum heat setting can offer.  

Multi-stage furnaces usually have a higher upfront cost than single-stage, but continuous temperature regulation can save on overall energy costs. A multi-stage furnace also tends to be quieter than a single-stage furnace since it spends more time on a low setting.

Modulating Furnace Type

Modulating furnaces tend to be modern and interact more with a thermostat. Rather than having one or two settings, modulating furnaces vary their heating strength depending on the exact temperature of the room. They usually come with smart blowers that can adjust airflow speed for maximum efficiency. 

Depending on the system, modulating furnaces also take into account the temperature inside and outside the home to best accomplish the ideal temperature. This type of equipment is usually more expensive than single or multi-stage, but it benefits from being the most energy-efficient system on the market. Its continuous, varied regulation can also help reduce operating costs. 

Electric Furnace

The other types of furnaces are separated into how heat is generated. Electric furnaces run on electricity and heat cold air using electric heating components. These units can be cheap and easy to install and maintain because they connect directly to your electrical grid. The downside is that they can get costly, especially when the heater constantly runs during colder months. 

Natural Gas Furnace

A natural gas furnace heats air using natural gas combustion, which is then blown out by an air blower. It usually connects to the house’s ventilation system and can be cheaper to run than an electric furnace. Although it can be a more expensive unit to purchase and install initially, it costs less to use and is the most popular type of system in the country. Proper maintenance and furnace installation can help keep it running for a long time.

different furnace types infographic

Oil Furnaces

Like natural gas, oil furnaces are designed to heat the air in a heat exchanger and then push the heated air back into the home through ducts and vents. Oil furnaces can provide better heating than other options, but they require a different type of installation which may include an oil tank buried in the ground. 

Propane Furnace

Propane furnaces are similar to natural gas furnaces, except instead of having a flue, they can be installed with a vent that expels air directly outside. Propane is also more efficient than gas as less needs to be burned to heat a home, and this is a popular choice for people with easy and cheap access to regular propane. 

What's the Best Furnace for Your Home?

Depending on your needs, budgets, and location, it’s essential to make the right choice when installing or replacing a furnace. Air Pro Heating & Cooling has the expertise to help you find, install, and maintain a suitable unit for you so that you can get the best out of your HVAC system. Contact us today for decades-strong heating and cooling services. 

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