Heating 101: Different Types of Furnaces For Your Home

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Are you curious to know which types of furnaces you can use for your home? Fortunately, several types of furnaces are available in the market, each working differently and providing a unique series of advantages and disadvantages. 

Which one is better for your home depends on your circumstances and which type of furnace will better suit your home. If you are not sure which one is better for your home, you can find additional assistance here.

What types of furnaces exist?

Today, many options are available to homeowners who want to get a new furnace for their homes. Here are the different types of furnaces you can expect to find:

  •     Electric
  •     Natural gas
  •     Propane
  •     Wood-burning furnace
  •     Oil

Since a different energy source operates each one, it is essential to evaluate the running costs through the years, not only the initial investment to buy and install the furnace. The qualities to look for in a furnace are high efficiency, low running costs, low levels of noise, and long life.

Gas Furnace

Typically, gas furnaces are widely used because they are more affordable to operate when compared with those run with other energy sources, such as electricity.

The mechanism is simple, the burner ignites the natural gas inside the furnace, and the flames heat the heat exchanger, which is responsible for turning cold air into hot air.

The hot air so produced is then getting into the house through a system of ducts and the help of a blower. However, gas furnaces require routine maintenance to prevent gas leaks leading to gas poisoning and even fire hazards.

Although a gas furnace is more expensive to install and buy, it is cheaper to run for a more extended period since natural gas is a very affordable energy source. In addition, it is more potent in heating the air than other types of furnaces. 

Wood-burning furnace

Wood-burning furnaces are not ideal for homes situated in a building complex or a city, but for homes located where there is plenty of wood to use. The wood gets burned in the firebox, and the heat generated is circulated through the ductwork to the rest of the house.

Those types of furnaces require manually feeding and constant attention when they are in use and need regular cleaning and maintenance. As a result, they are not very practical, but they can do their job if properly operated.

Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces are the cheapest to buy, install, and maintain. But, electricity is more expensive than natural gas, and if used regularly, energy bills can be pretty high.

It operates similarly to the other furnaces, the electricity heats the exchanger, which makes air hot, and after that, the air is pushed into the house through ductwork.

Despite the higher costs, electric furnaces do not produce carbon monoxide, which makes electric furnaces safe from gas poisoning and fire hazard.

Oil furnace

Oil furnaces work similarly to other furnaces. The furnace gets the oil into a burning chamber, and it is ignited to create energy and heat; the air is pulled into the system, and once it is hot, it is sent to the rest of the house through ductwork.

Oil is very effective in producing heat, even more than natural gas. It is capable of eating the house very fast. Part of an oil furnace setup is the required oil tank, and it is connected to the furnace.

Propane furnace

Propane furnaces are a great option if gas is not available. Those types of furnaces work in the same way as those working with natural gas but without the necessity to have a flue. Instead, a vent near the exterior wall is sufficient.

Propane is more effective than natural gas; in other words, less propane is needed to warm the house, while if you used natural gas, you would need to use a higher quantity to get the same result.

Propane is also stored in tanks, and it is an alternative to oil or gas, especially in areas where gas cannot get to a house.

How to decide which furnace is best for you?

How can you choose the ideal furnace for your home now that you know what types of furnaces are available?

In the first place, if there are no connections to natural gas, you should consider electricity, oil,  or propane. But, there are other factors to consider. For example, one of the factors to consider is the size.


An undersized furnace will not effectively warm the house during the cold weather. Therefore, before opting for any type of furnace, you should calculate the necessary size to make your home comfortable.

An oversized furnace is also not good since it will cycle on and off, putting too much strain on the system, wearing it off faster, and producing too much noise. In addition, efficiency is significant when considering a new furnace.


The efficiency can be verified with the annual fuel-utilization-efficiency rating (AFUE), which is measured in a percentage.

It would help if you verified the AFUE value for the furnace you want to get, and of course, the higher the number, the more efficient the system is, which means that the system can produce more heat with the same amount of gas.

In addition, efficient furnaces produce fewer emissions and are more respectful of the environment. As a result, you can expect to find furnaces reaching close to 98% efficiency or as low as 80%. 


The overall purchase and installation costs are essential factors to consider, but initially, opting to spend less money could lead you to get an electric furnace.

But in the long run, it can cost more in terms of energy consumption resulting in higher electric bills.


Modern furnaces are made to be efficient and can be fueled by different energy sources. Therefore, depending on your initial budget and your specific situation, you might choose one instead of another.

But, if you are not sure which one is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Comments (1)

Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Great information for homeowners in your area Dina. Thanks for sharing!

Jun 03, 2022 11:40 AM