Different Kinds of Furnaces, Things You Must Know

If you are looking for a new furnace for your home, this is the perfect time to get one and install it. It is not too cold just yet, so you don’t have to use it regularly, but you also don’t use the AC unit either.

However, if you don’t have too much experience with furnaces, the sheer choice and the terminology which comes with it may be a bit overwhelming. So this article is trying to tell you about the most common types of furnaces available and some of their characteristics.

It is important to remember that a furnace is fairly expensive and complicated piece of equipment, so you should be careful with who installs your device. Find a reputable and experienced company like Action AC.


Electric heaters are not the first choice for most people when they are considering heating options. They are normally used only when other options are unavailable, or as a supplementary form of heating.

On the one hand, they are great at converting electricity into heat. There is no residue, so the effectiveness is 100%. There is no fuel, so you don’t need a fuel tank, which makes this furnace type safer and less complicated. Additionally, the space you need for an electric furnace is far smaller than for any other type. There are fewer parts to break down, which makes the repair and maintenance so much simpler.

Techician looking over a gas furnace with a flashlight before cleaning it.

However, there is the matter of cost. The furnace itself is relatively cheap, and the whole experience can cost you around 2000-3000 dollars with installation and everything else. It is the running costs that put a damper onto this type of furnace. The cost of electricity is significantly higher than other fuel sources like oil or gas.


Gas furnaces are very effective and therefore are one of the most commonly found types of furnaces in the northern parts of the country which require effective heating. The main advantage of the gas furnace is the fact that gas is inexpensive, making the whole heating bill lower. It is also eco-friendly to some extent because the amount of greenhouse gases released by gas furnaces is lower than many other heating methods. You may even be eligible for a tax rebate due to the energy efficiency if you use a gas furnace.

The downside of gas furnaces is the cost. The initial cost of a gas furnace is very high, but over time it balances out. The other problem is, of course, safety. Even though there are ways of detecting natural gas and solving the problem before it escalates, these furnaces do pose a certain risk to your house due to the explosive nature of natural gas.

Liquid Fuel

When it comes to liquid fuel furnaces, the most common fuel used is oil. This is also a popular choice in the northern part of the country, particularly in the northeast, because of the high caloric value of oil.

Unlike gas and electric furnaces, liquid fuel furnaces need to have their own tank, since there aren’t pipes which lead oil directly into our homes.

What that means for you if you want to have this kind of a furnace, is that you need to plan ahead and leave sufficient room not only for the furnace but for the tank, too. Coupled with the fact that it burns dirtier than natural gas and that it is usually more expensive, it makes it the less optimal choice.


There are other heating methods. Solid fuel furnaces, like wood burners, exist but aren’t as common anymore. Some countries, like Iceland, use the geothermal energy to provide heating at little cost and no external energy input needed.

Whatever your furnace type, you need to follow the instructions for maintenance and use in order to make sure it serves you long and well.

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