What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?

types of furnaces

If you happen to be in the market for a new furnace, you may be overwhelmed by the number of options available. Our professional team at AquaTemp would like to make it a bit easier by providing some basics on the different types of furnaces on the market today. We hope this information can help you make the best decision for your family.

Furnaces by Operation

Furnaces sit at the heart of your Saskatchewan home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. They not only provide the heat for your home in the cooler months, but they also participate in the cooling of your home in the summer because furnace blowers circulate cooled air as well as warmed air. They can be classified in many different ways. Let’s start by looking at the different levels of operation.

Single-Stage Furnace

Single-stage furnaces have only one stage of operation. That means they can either be turned on or turned off. When a single-stage furnace is on, the heat is either on or off. 

As a result, it’s more likely you’ll have hot and cold spots in your Martensville home with greater variance in temperature. In some cases, you can experience between a 4 and 6 degree temperature difference. 

In addition, you’ll use more energy turning on and off your system throughout the day. However, this is the most basic type of furnace and, therefore, the least expensive to purchase—and the easiest and cheapest to install.

Two-Stage Furnace

Two-stage furnaces give you slightly more control in how you heat your home by providing a high heat and a low heat setting. They deliver heat more efficiently and can keep your home at a more consistent temperature. In addition, two-stage furnaces operate more quietly on low heat. These furnaces are offered with either a fixed speed high efficient motor or a variable speed high efficient motor depending on the level of comfort and energy efficiency that is desired. 

Modulating Speed Furnace

Finally, modulating furnaces modulate both the fan speed and the heat output based on the outdoor temperature and the desired indoor temperature. You can often keep your home within half a degree of your desired temperature. 

Since modulating furnaces only work as much as you need them to, they are the most energy-efficient type of furnace. Modulating furnaces also deliver the best air quality, when operating the fan continually, this circulates air through the filter, even when the furnace isn’t heating. The added energy efficiency since the modulating furnace comes with a variable speed fan that modulates along with the burner to achieve comfort and efficiency all in one package.

Although these furnaces cost the most upfront, you should be able to recoup some of that investment in reduced energy costs over time.

Furnaces by Fuel Type

Another way to classify today’s furnaces is by what kind of fuel they use to generate heat. Most furnaces are gas, oil, or electric. However, propane, wood, and coal furnaces can also be used.

Gas Furnace

Most homes in Canada operate natural gas furnaces today. Municipalities distribute gas through buried pipelines to residential homes. When the natural gas reaches a home, it jets along the furnace’s burner to ignite the fuel. This increases the temperature of the air in the heat exchanger, and warm air is circulated throughout your home’s air duct system

Natural gas provides reliable heat, and fuel costs remain relatively low and stable when compared with other fuels. According to SaskEnergy and Consumer Reports, high-efficiency natural gas furnaces can achieve an efficiency rating of up to 97 percent. In reality, gas furnaces can reach efficiencies of over 98% depending on the brand. 

Oil Furnace

Oil furnaces are more popular in remote areas where natural gas lines are not available. In this case, homeowners must purchase tanks of oil to store, and then refill the tanks as usage requires. 

Oil furnaces are expensive, however, lasting nearly twice as long as gas furnaces with proper maintenance. Oil prices, however, fluctuate quite a bit, which makes your ongoing fuel costs unpredictable. These furnaces also require ongoing cleaning of soot and ash buildup to remain in good working order and are not as efficient as gas furnaces. In Saskatchewan, the cost to operate an oil furnace is about 450% more per year than to operate a natural gas furnace.

Electric Furnace

Another furnace option if you don’t have access to gas lines in your home is an electric furnace. These furnaces employ electric heating elements to heat the surrounding air. 

Electric furnaces are usually affordable and frequently smaller than other furnaces. Their disadvantage is that they cost more to operate than a gas furnace.  

Although electric furnaces and using a heat pump as your primary heating system offers many advantages such as cost savings and comfort. 

Contact AquaTemp for All Your Furnace Needs

When you’re ready to purchase a new furnace, turn to AquaTemp in Martensville, SK, for help. Our team is well-versed in all makes and models of furnaces and can help you make the right decision for your home and family. Call 306-370-8678 or request service online today.

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