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Differences Between Standard and Condensing Gas Furnaces

Here’s a simple explanation and comparison of the two main gas furnace types, to help you decide on the most suitable for your home.

A standard gas powered furnace:

  • Generates heat via a combustion process.
  • Extracts heat from the combustion process using a heat exchanger.
  • Releases the heat through ductwork into the home, with the help of a blower motor and fan.
  • Expels exhaust gas via chimneys or flue pipes.
  • A considerable amount of heat can be lost through the exhaust process as air is released outside the home.

A condensing gas furnace:

  • Also generates heat via a combustion process.
  • Extracts heat from the combustion process using a double heat exchanger process.
  • Releases the heat through ductwork into the home, with the help of a blower motor and fan.
  • Removes heat from the exhaust gases, resulting in water condensation fed to a floor drain.
  • Expels exhaust gas via PVC flue pipes, usually out the side of your home rather than the roof.

The double heat exchanger extracts more heat than the single exchanger in a standard gas furnace. In addition, very little heat is lost via the exhaust process. This can deliver a 25 to 35 percent higher efficiency than the standard gas furnace. Of course, like all furnaces, they will still require annual maintenance by qualified HVAC technicians.

Pros and Cons

Some points to consider in deciding upon a condensing gas furnace are:

  • A higher purchase cost but lower long-term operating costs. Condensing furnaces make more sense in cold-winter areas than in warmer climates, since monthly utility savings accumulate in a shorter period of time.
  • They can be installed in the same spot as your old furnace and use the same ductwork.
  • If the higher up-front cost is a problem, you might want to consider a furnace rental option.

More Information

If you need some expert advice about whether a condensing gas furnace is the right choice for you, or for any other matters related to home comfort, please contact us at Reliance Home Comfort.

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