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What are Furnaces?

Furnaces are heating units that generate and distribute the heated air throughout a facility. They use a careful distribution of ductwork and a system of coils known as a heat exchanger to operate and warm a building evenly. Various types of furnaces are available in the market — single-stage, two-stage, variable speed. Furnaces also differ in the type of fuel they are powered by — gas, oil, and electric.

Types of Furnaces

Single-Stage Furnaces

These furnaces come with valves that only offer two settings for gas supply during operation - on full blast and off. As the name suggests, they work only on a single speed.

Two-Stage Furnaces

These furnaces utilize a three-position valve to offer three settings - on, partially closed, and closed. They are much more efficient than their single-stage counterparts. The partially closed state (first stage) operates at a 65% capacity and is good for colder climates. However, when the temperature drops even further and more heat is required to maintain a comfortable indoor environment, these furnaces switch to a full blast state (stage two) for additional heat. These furnaces are the most common furnace types used in facilities due to their higher energy efficiency.

Variable Speed Furnaces

Variable speed furnaces use a specific type of blower motor that moves the air into the ductwork at ‘various’ speeds to precisely control the amount of airflow. When the heating demand is low, they start and operate at a low speed. However, on the coldest days of the year, they kick into high gear to provide cozy indoor warmth. Their variable speed blower motor ensures a more constant stream of heated air, providing enhanced levels of comfort and saving on energy costs.

Types of Furnaces: Fuel Used

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are the most common heating unit of an HVAC system that use natural gas to provide heat in the facility. They provide heat by igniting the natural gas and can be controlled by an external thermostat. They are usually paired with a central air conditioner unit and normally last between 15 to 20 years.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces work just like gas furnaces, but instead of natural gas, they use electric heating elements to produce heat and distribute it through a blower. The average lifespan of an electric furnace is around 20 to 30 years.

Which Furnace Should You Get?

If you are looking to invest in a furnace for your facility, you should take the following factors into consideration to determine which system is right for you:

  • Average temperature
  • Costs
  • Top furnace brands
  • Square footage
  • Insulation values

We believe a two-stage or a variable furnace is well worth the additional costs over a single-stage system. However, the final decision should be based on your needs and budget. If you are not sure which furnace you should consider for your facility, feel free to contact one of our professional HVAC technicians to seek help with this decision. Our technician will perform a thorough inspection and evaluate your facility. With this HVAC guide, you will be better positioned to decide which furnace best suits your needs.