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Types of Furnaces

Your furnace is your source of comfort. What type of furnace do you own—and how do you keep it running smoothly all year round?

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Types of Furnaces

What is a furnace? Simply put, a furnace draws air in from the living space, heats it up and returns it to warm the home. Most furnaces use gas—either natural gas or propane—ignited by the pilot light to warm the air. Electric furnaces use heating elements, or strips, instead. Both types of fuel options result in the warm air being blown into the living space through ductwork.

For furnaces that use fossil fuels, we also recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector, such as the Nest Protect®. This important device will notify you if CO is detected and reaching unsafe levels.

There are a few types of furnaces, depending on your home and where you live:

Upflow furnace

An upflow furnace takes cool air in from the bottom and discharges it from the top. These are generally placed in the home’s basement. Because hot air naturally rises and cold air sinks, upflow furnaces have to perform less work and tend to have longer life spans than the other configurations. However, if you have no basement or crawlspace, an upflow furnace may not be an option.

A gravity furnace is a type of upflow furnace that does not use a blower motor, but instead uses physics—the heated air rises through ducts and cooled air sinks through return vents.

Horizontal flow (or cross-flow) furnace

A horizontal furnace lies on its side, pulling cool air from one side and pushing warm air out of the other. Horizontal furnaces are often used in locations where there is limited space and may be found in a crawl space or a closet.

Downflow furnace

In this configuration, the furnace takes cool air from the top and discharges warm air from the bottom. Downflow furnaces are generally found in homes with no basement and are usually placed in an attic.

No matter what type of furnace you have, be sure to have regular maintenance performed to help extend the life of your equipment. Remember, air filtration is critical to effective heating, so change your filters often and have your furnace professionally serviced before every heating season.

Call 866-399-2885 to set up an appointment with your local ARS®/Rescue Rooter® heating specialist if you have questions about your system.

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