What Type of Furnace Do I have?

Furnace Repair | How to Tell Which Type of Furnace You Have

While it may be far from your mind during the summer season, now is the time to take a closer look at your furnace. This time of year is ideal for getting your furnace inspection and furnace maintenance, as it is right before the fall and winter seasons approach. This can help you beat the high-traffic furnace maintenance, replacement, and repair rush that these colder seasons bring. This also gives your furnace professional plenty of time to complete any needed repairs before you are left out in the cold. So how can you tell which type of furnace you have and whether or not it needs maintenance?

Gas Furnace, Electric Furnace, or Oil Furnace? 

If you find yourself wondering, “Which kind of furnace do I have?” this answer might be more simple than you may think. There are three primary types of furnace units: gas, electric, and oil. Take a quick look at your furnace unit. Check for either gas pipes or electrical wiring, which should give you an indication of which kind of furnace unit you have. Oil furnaces are largely dated and phased out, but you will likely have regular oil delivery if your furnace depends on this system; thereby, you likely already know whether or not you have an oil furnace. If you still feel unsure of your furnace type, try looking up your unit type, brand, or number. You can search through information and images until you find the one that looks closest to your own. 

Atmospheric or Sealed Furnace?

For those wondering, “Do I have a sealed or atmospheric furnace?” this feature is typically visually apparent. An atmospheric unit draws the gas upwards through a damper, also known as a draft hood. Sealed furnace units directly remove your furnace production outside. Sealed furnace units are better for the environment and your electric bill, and they are a safer unit to have in your home. If you are in need of a new furnace, search for one that is safely sealed. 

One-Stage Furnace or Two-Stage Furnace?

You might also be wondering if you have a one-stage furnace or a two-stage furnace. The difference between a single-stage furnace and a double-stage furnace can be found in the temperature regulation. If you have a single-stage furnace, you will find that the settings are limited only to on and off.  This means that there is no way to adjust the settings between lightly cool and frigid winter days, which can cause either high electric bills or days of uncomfortable internal temperature regulation. 

A two-stage furnace has both high and low settings, with the low setting being adequate of the time. During the coldest time of year, a two-stage furnace will automatically adjust to the high settings; otherwise, the furnace will default to the lower settings when on, leading to an even balance between energy efficiency and internal temperature regulation. 

Does Your Furnace Have a Pilot Light?

A pilot light is a continuously-burning flame that might be found in your furnace unit. These are uncommon among modern units, as they are highly inefficient. The alternative is either a hot surface ignition or an electronic intermittent ignition. Electronic intermittent ignition furnace units operate by using electric currents to ignite this fire only when it is needed. Hot surface ignition furnace units eliminated the need for flame altogether by instead using an electrically-heated metal surface. 

AFUE and Furnace Efficiency

Annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, can be used to determine whether or not your furnace is meeting efficiency standards. This number works by comparing the heat your unit produces and the energy it consumes to produce that heat to calculate a percentage of energy that becomes heat. The higher levels of production and lower levels of consumption will lead to a higher percentage. The highest AFUE rating available is 98.5%, and units at 80% or below are considered less efficient. 

So when is it time for a furnace replacement? Taking the AFUE furnace efficiency rating into consideration, if you are using a dated furnace unit, it might be more cost effective to replace than it is to save. Consult a furnace professional to determine the cost of repairs compared to the savings a newer unit could provide. 

Does My Furnace Need Maintenance?

The best way to tell whether or not your furnace needs service is to have it inspected regularly by a professional. This can ensure that your furnace is clean and working before an issue arises. Regular maintenance can also help keep your furnace performing efficiently and extend the lifespan of your furnace unit. 

Where to Find Furnace Repair

If you are looking for furnace repair or replacement in Raleigh or Wilmington, North Carolina, Newcomb and Company has you covered! Our service experts have the furnace knowledge and experience you need and can provide you with a free replacement estimate. Contact Newcomb and Company today to learn more about how our professionals can meet your furnace needs today!

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