Furnaces are the oldest of all home heating systems, dating back to before the Industrial Revolution, when they principally burned wood or coal. But despite their age, gas furnaces for home heating still remain popular across the U.S. and the rest of North America as ways to provide heat during the winter. With so many technological advances in the HVAC industry during the last hundred years, why have furnaces continued to top the list of options for heating?
The Industrial Revolution provided the catalyst for more advanced warm-air systems. In England about 1805, William Strutt invented a warm-air furnace that consisted of a riveted, wrought iron air chamber encased in brick. This is thought to be the world’s first furnace.
Today’s homes can have many different types of heating systems warming them: heat pumps, boilers, ductless mini splits, electric furnaces, and radiant in-floor heating. But gas furnaces for home heating are still the king, found in millions of home from the midnight sun regions of Alaska to the palm-dotted beaches of Florida—as well as here in the Northern California. Because of the popularity of gas furnaces, Clarke & Rush have become the Sacramento furnace repair specialists.
What Makes Gas Furnaces for Home Heating so Popular Today?
There are benefits to all of the systems we listed above. Finding the one to meet a home’s comfort needs can be tricky, and this is why it’s necessary to have the assistance of HVAC professionals, like Clarke & Rush when it come to a new heating installation. The gas furnace, however, has a long list of benefits that often give it a leading edge.
Here are some of the reasons for the lasting popularity of gas furnaces:
1. Energy savings
Natural gas is a less costly energy source than electricity or propane. A home using natural gas for heat rather than electricity will have much lower utility bills.
Gas furnaces are also price-competitive: high-efficiency gas furnaces cost far less than they did only a decade ago. Where effective gas furnaces were once out of the price range of many families, they are now attractive alternatives that won’t break the bank and return the money with their energy savings.
2. High efficiency
Few types of heaters are more efficient at delivering heat than natural gas furnaces for home heating. It’s easier to have an even spread of heat around a house with a gas furnace doing the work. The lag time for electric furnaces is much longer; with a gas furnace, you won’t have to wait for the comfort you want.
One of the reasons furnaces remain popular is that those same advances in HVAC technology have affected furnaces as well: today’s gas furnaces from respected manufacturers like Carrier and American Standard perform at levels of efficiency unthinkable only 20 years in the past. Some models score AFUE ratings of 96.7%, meaning they consume almost 97% of the fuel they use when providing you heat—the energy waste is minimal.
3. Great heat output
Natural gas furnaces for home heating can put out higher amounts of heat than almost any other type of comfort system. This is why you’ll find gas furnaces in parts of the country that have the coldest winters. But this high heat output serves a purpose in our warmer climate: it can keep the draftiest house warm in the winter.
It’s easy to integrate gas furnaces into HVAC systems and pair them with air conditioners. There’s usually no need to change any connected appliances when a gas furnace is put in. The existing ducting can be used as well, or new ducting can be added.
You might find this one a bit curious. Aren’t gas furnaces potentially hazardous? Yes—but safety standards are so strict today that there’s little danger. In fact, natural gas burns cleaner than other heating fuels and this means fewer harmful emissions. When furnaces receive routine biannual maintenance, they are among the safest options for home heating.
6. Forced-Air Heating Allows For Quicker Warming
Finally, furnaces use forced-air heating sent through ductwork to operate. Since most homes already have ductwork, it’s easy to have a furnace installed and hooked up to the pre-existing ducts.
To understand why so many homeowners choose gas furnaces for home heating, it helps to understand how a furnace actually heats a home. Unlike a radiant heating system, which will heat surfaces of the house in order to radiate heat out into the living space, a furnace heats air directly. That heated air is then distributed throughout the house via a system of ductwork. This results in swift heating, even if you are starting from a fairly cold temperature.
It is important to remember, though, that issues with your ductwork can seriously set your system back. If your air ducts are leaking or poorly laid out, for instance, your system is going to use more energy than it should have to in order to heat your home. That drags down efficiency. When we install and service your system, though, you’ll be able to spread heat throughout your home confidently.
Which Furnace is Right for Your Sacramento Home?
We need to emphasize again that when it comes to options for home heating in Sacramento, CA and elsewhere in the unique region we serve, there isn’t a single system that works for every house and family. The benefits we listed above may make gas furnaces for home heating sound like the best pick—and in many cases they are.
But even gas furnaces have some drawbacks. The main one is that they don’t work in homes without a gas connection! If you have an all-electric home, we recommend looking into comfort options like a heat pump, which is an efficient heater and air conditioner in one. Our technicians are glad to help narrow down the range of choices so you end up with the right heat system to match your comfort needs and budget.
Clarke & Rush has been proudly serving the residents of Sacramento and the surrounding areas for nearly six decades, and our HVAC services team works hard to ensure you and your family remain comfortable all year long. We guarantee you’ll be satisfied with our work! For reliable Sacramento heating services like furnace installation, furnace replacement, furnace maintenance, and furnace repair, you can count one our top-rated heating technicians!