What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?

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The furnace is the heart that powers the entire heating system in your house. There is a wide array of different types of furnaces to meet varying needs. Through this informative comparison, you will learn about the main types of furnaces and the criteria that will help you select the right type of furnace for your home.

What Is a Furnace?

A furnace is basically the brain behind your HVAC system. When you adjust the thermostat, it signals the furnace to begin heating the air. The process consists of a fan turning and circulating warm air through the entire space. How the air is dispersed will depend on the type of furnace your HVAC system has.

What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?

Natural Gas Furnaces

Natural gas furnaces are very popular amongst residential customers because of their economic efficiency. Approximately half of all furnaces in the United States are natural gas furnaces. This type of furnace is an investment of an average of 3,000 dollars and can continue running for 20 years or more.

Oil Furnaces

The use of oil furnaces is concentrated in the Northeastern part of the United States. Compared to their natural gas counterparts, oil furnaces are not as economically efficient. However, oil furnaces typically require a smaller investment, their prices start at 500 dollars and will continue running for up to 25 years.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are almost as popular as natural gas furnaces. Electric furnaces require a smaller initial investment than natural gas furnaces, the average electric furnace costs around 1500 dollars and can provide heat for up to 30 years. However, gas furnaces are cheaper to run than electric furnaces because natural gas tens to be cheaper than electricity.

Propane Furnaces

Propane furnaces are a less popular alternative to electric, natural gas, and oil furnaces. This option is usually reserved for areas that do not have easy access to gas or oil. Propane furnaces are reasonably efficient and propane is safe. However, juxtaposed with the oil furnace, this type of furnace will require more propane to heat the same-sized space.

What Other Things Should I Consider Before Buying a Furnace?

Furnaces vs. Boilers

To make the best choice, it is important to understand the key differences between boilers and furnaces. In addition to understanding the different types of furnaces available, it is important to also consider what a boiler could offer.

The Needs of the Space

The size of the furnace should be adequate for the space that needs to be heated. The strength of furnaces is measured in BTUs which stands for British thermal unit of heat. If the space is larger, it will need a furnace with a higher BTU. In addition to the size of the space, the climate and availability of resources should be considered when deciding on the type of furnace.


The needs of the space are an important consideration but staying within a budget and making a wise investment is also key. It is recommended to read the reviews for the different furnaces being considered to ensure the furnace is of good quality. It is also important to consider the total cost, meaning not just the initial investment but also other factors such as maintenance costs, costs to run the furnace, and useful life period.

The last thing to consider is if you need a new furnace at all, your HVAC system may just need some maintenance. Start by reading this guide: Identifying the Severity of a Furnace Issue to determine what steps you need to locate the right HVAC repair in Atlanta.