From a heat pump that transfers heat in and out of your home rather than creating it to wood-burning stoves and fireplaces and everything in between, you have plenty of options to heat your Georgia home. However, even if you plan to stick with a furnace as part of your HVAC system, the most popular choice among residents, your decision-making isn’t over.
That’s because furnaces are as different as types of heating systems, especially since they come with unique abilities, features, and fueling power. If all furnaces look the same, or you don’t know where to begin your research for the ideal system, trust Georgia Air Cooling & Heating for furnace replacement and installation in Richmond Hill. Below we outline the five main furnace types and what each can do for your home.
Natural Gas Furnaces
Furnaces that run on natural gas are the most popular household addition for cooler winter months but are only available for homes with a nearby municipal gas line. That’s because the gas furnace, which has a pipe connecting to this gas line, needs this gas to light the burner.
The furnace sucks surrounding cool air into the heat exchanger and warms it with the gas before directing exhaust outside your home. Then, the blower fan distributes warm air through air ducts, out of vents, and into different household rooms according to the thermostat’s setting. Therefore, without the gas line, the furnace cannot produce heat.
However, if you have an available gas line and are willing to pay the higher upfront cost of installing a gas furnace, which ranges between $1,700 and $9,700, you’re making a cost-effective choice. Natural gas is cheaper to use than electricity or other forms of fuel, especially recently, with electricity costs skyrocketing and natural gas prices dropping.
Currently, the average homeowner spends about $750 to combat the winter season with natural gas and almost twice as much—$1,268, to be exact—to heat a home with electricity. Alongside cheaper monthly bills, gas furnaces are more efficient. Although electric furnaces don’t lose energy during the combustion process like gas furnaces, they run more frequently to produce higher temperatures, burning more fuel.
Still, electric furnaces have their upside, especially with their affordable upfront costs of between $1,600 and $6,200. Because electric furnaces don’t need to connect to external ventilation, piping, or another outside source like gas furnaces, their installation process is much simpler. The unit is also cheaper, contributing to these lower rates, and the process takes less time, usually averaging four hours.
However, be mindful of your location since areas dipping below freezing will prevent the electric furnace from providing optimal heating power.
Electric furnaces work by producing lower temperatures than set by your thermostat but keep cycling until it reaches your desired setting. Therefore, it’s best in warmer climates like Georgia, where winters rarely fall below 40 degrees, allowing your system to cycle less and keeping your utility bills low. In colder climates, your system won’t prove as efficient and may break down prematurely from overworking.
While these types of furnaces are smaller, saving space in your home and allowing placement wherever you deem fit, they work similarly to your other options. They pull external air into the heat exchanger before heating and sending it back through ducts. However, instead of gas line fuel, electricity passes within the heating coils, and the blower motor circulates air over these coils, effectively warming that air.
Propane furnaces mirror gas furnaces since they use gas to fuel your heating system. However, the unit stores the propane as a non-toxic liquid that is colorless and odorless. During hydrocarbon combustion, the liquid vaporizes into gas, and unlike gas furnaces that create carbon monoxide within the combustion chamber, propane furnaces do not become dangerous if there’s a leak.
Furnaces fueled by propane are also more convenient since the upfront cost is cheaper than natural gas and rivals electrical furnaces with a price range averaging $1,800 to $6,000. However, depending on your unit cost and house size, installation costs are sometimes as low as $500. They also waste less energy than gas furnaces and are cheaper to run than electric furnaces, costing a fraction of the price to operate.
Propane furnaces prove cheaper in the long run because they work in short intervals, creating temperatures up to 140 degrees. Because they produce higher temperatures without working as hard as electric furnaces to heat your home, they also last up to ten years longer due to less wear and tear.
These types of furnaces that run on green energy also provide convenience since you may store fuel without worrying about power outages. Also, you may switch energy sources to another acceptable fuel type if you’re running low.
While oil furnaces may not be as popular in warmer climates like down south here in Georgia, residents in Northeastern United States regions appreciate the higher heating power of these systems. They produce heat by pulling oil from your attached reserve tank into the furnace’s burner chamber. The oil then turns into a fine mist that settles over the burner, and air passes over it as the chamber heats up.
Oil furnaces heat up faster than other furnace types and have the second-lowest installation cost range on our list, with prices spanning $2,500 to $6,000. However, you’ll have higher monthly costs since oil prices are higher than electricity and gas. You’ll also need to purchase and maintain an oil tank on your premises to store your fuel safely, but it’ll increase your overall furnace maintenance and repair costs.
Many residents find oil shipments a hassle since you always have to anticipate upcoming cooler weather and ensure you have enough fuel for the uncomfortable climate. If you don’t consider the appropriate amount for your furnace or have more colder days than expected, your furnace will run dry. You also need to schedule deliveries and unload the oil manually, making these furnaces more high maintenance.
While the extra upkeep may be a turnoff, repair costs compensate for the added fuel expenses and inconveniences since repairs are few and far between. Other systems have more intricate electrical components and complex moving parts, while old-fashioned oil furnaces have fewer components, making repairs straightforward.
However, that doesn’t mean you should cut costs by doing any necessary repairs yourself. Take the guesswork out of furnace care by calling Georgia Air Cooling & Heating for professional installation and repair.
Wood furnaces work like wood-burning ovens and fireplaces that use chopped-up lumber as fuel. To begin the wood-burning process, kindle a fire with a starting material before adding wood. The combustion blower then pushes air into the heat exchanger, which causes the wood to burn at accelerated speeds, increasing temperatures in a given room.
Once the room temperature matches the thermostat setting, the combustion blower reduces air in the heat exchanger, lowering the burning rate and stabilizing the current room temperature. While the older wood furnaces only heat nearby rooms, newer wood furnaces connect to ductwork to move controlled warm air into all rooms.
These types of furnaces cost anywhere from $2,600 to $12,500 to install and are cheaper to run than gas and electric ones. They’re also more convenient for many homeowners, especially those with a natural wood supply from nearby outdoor areas. Cutting your own lumber provides free fuel and protects your indoor climate against harsh outdoor weather during gas and power outages.
However, if you’re worried you won’t have the wood on hand, consider a dual-source furnace that doubles as a gas or oil furnace, running on these fuel types as well.
Other Factors That Affect Furnace Costs and Output
Once you determine the appropriate type of furnace for your home, consider the size of your house to understand what furnace size and heat exchangers to purchase. If your unit is too small or large, you’ll experience short cycling that doesn’t heat adequately or extended cycling periods that wear out your furnace. Other factors include:
- Extra features: Some furnaces also offer dehumidifiers to reduce moisture in the warm air, smart thermostats that you can pre-program to turn on and off, noise control, and more.
- Better efficiency: A single-stage furnace has one heat output level that releases the same amount of heat, despite the indoor temperature. However, a two-stage furnace has two heat output levels, one for milder days and one for colder ones.
Further Examining Your Options with Georgia Air Cooling & Heating
With many types of furnaces available, it’s understandable to get a little hot under the collar when searching for the appropriate one for your home and family’s needs. That’s why you should know when to call for emergency furnace help from our specialized team of technicians. We consider all factors for you when you consider a furnace installation or need a repair or replacement.
Take advantage of our almost 10 years of HVAC knowledge by calling Georgia Air Cooling & Heating at 912-513-3361 or scheduling your service online today!