Furnace - Forced Air Heating Systems
Boiler - Water or Steam Boiler Systems
Know your heating system ... what types are available?
Forced Air FurnaceForced air furnaces are very common. They use a duct system to blow air across a heat exchanger and through ductwork to heat your home.
Hot Water BoilerThis system uses pipes to circulate water from a boiler to radiators, baseboard fin tube registers, or panels in your floor or ceiling to heat your home.
Heat PumpsHeat pumps are not as common in the Milwaukee area as in other parts of the country but they're still sometimes used as a primary heat source with the backup heat source being fossil fuel(natural gas or propane) or electric heat.
Steam HeatingSteam heating systems are still fairly common in certain metro areas. A boiler heats water until steam is generated. The steam is then circulated to radiators throughout your home.
Should I replace or repair my furnace?
- If you own a furnace 12 years or older it is no longer under warranty it is advisable to consider replacement.
- If you have a furnace that uses a standing pilot(pilot light that is always lit) you should replace your system.
- If you own a boiler that is over 35 years old. You should consider replacement for the efficiency value alone.
- If you find yourself in a scenario that your system requires repairs that exceed 1/3rd the price of replacement we recommend replacement over repairing.
- You may want to replace your furnace or boiler if you can save money on utilities. Efficient systems can save you money. That savings can pay for your new system over the life of it.
- AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)
This is the efficieny rating of a furnace. i.e. 80% AFUE = 80 cents of every dollar of gas go into your home as heat and the remainder goes out as exhaust.
- Variable Speed
The blower motor in the furnace is able to vary its speed. This is similar to a dimmer switch on a light bulb. Instead of just "lo, med, hi" variable speed furnaces are able to vary the speed to accomodate duct systems and load and are considerable more efficient in power consumption than standard furnaces.
This means a furnace has a low heat mode and hi heat mode rather than just "on and off". Many variable furnaces use two-stage gas valves in addition to their variable speed motor.
These are the top-of-the-line furnaces. These furnaces have the ability to modulate the amount of gas they use to heat your home and use a variable speed motor to circulate that heat. Modulating furnaces are designed as much around comfort as they are efficiency.