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Heating Systems

Furnace - Forced Air Heating Systems

Stramowski Comfort Furnace

Boiler - Water or Steam Boiler Systems

Crown Boiler

How to buy the best furnace for your home

  • Selecting an installer
  • Understanding furnace size
  • Selecting a thermostat
  • Deciphering furnace energy ratings
  • Enhancing your installation with add-ons
  • Caring for your new furnace

Know your heating system ... what types are available?

  • Forced Air Furnace

    Forced 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 Boiler

    This 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 Pumps

    Heat 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 Heating

    Steam 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.


How long do furnaces last?
Furnaces are designed to last about 10 to 15 years in the Milwaukee climate. Keeping your system maintained will help to extend the life of your system.
When should I replace my furnace?
It is up to you when you replace your furnace. However, we recommend replacing your furnace after 12 years. Stramowski Heating doesn’t recommend anyone spend on costly repairs if their system is over 12 years old.
What if I have a cracked heat exchange?
Cracked heat exchangers are a potential hazzard. Heat exchangers cannot be repaired. They must be replaced in order to fix the furnace. If your heat exchanger is cracked there may be several reasons for why it happened. Keep in mind, most cracked heat exchangers are the direct result of improper size, bad installation, or lack of air flow.
Does Stramowski Heating work on steam boiler systems?
YES, Stramowski works on steam boiler systems! We have extensive experience with steam systems. It is extremely important that you use the right company for your system project. Many companies advertise they can work on any system. As a homeowner, you should beware of short easy sales pitches involving steam. A steam boiler that isn’t installed properly can be extremely noisy and even dangerous. Incorrectly piped steam systems usually don’t last long relatively speaking. An incorrectly piped steam boiler may go bad after a year but may take a few years to go bad.

Heating Terminology

  • 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.
  • Two-Stage
    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.
  • Modulating
    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.
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