Can You Replace Just the Furnace?

You might be surprised at the answer to this question: Can you replace just a furnace? The short answer is yes, but when it comes to finding out if you can do it yourself or what type of contractor you should hire for your project, there are a few things you should know.

HVAC Systems

Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems work together in homes and buildings to provide a healthy living environment. Homes with only one method—either HVAC or furnaces exclusively—are not as efficient as they could be because heating and cooling require two different systems. A single unit serving both purposes saves space in a home but doesn’t take advantage of the principles of thermal comfort used by professional designers. In a basic nutshell, a professional HVAC system alternates between heating and cooling, while a furnace-only system constantly maintains the interior environment at one temperature.

Asking Your Contractor to Swap Out Just the Furnace

Most furnaces are installed as part of a central air conditioning system. In addition to the stove itself, you will find other components in your HVAC system that contribute to healthy living conditions, including an air filter, humidifier, and venting ducts. Replacing just a furnace means finding another contractor who can provide all these elements or add them to your existing contract with your current company. The latter option may be preferable because it guarantees a warmer home free from allergens and mold spores during the heating season.

Replacing Just the Furnace

Replacing just a furnace is less complicated than replacing an entire HVAC system because there are fewer components to maintain. The system should include an air filter, humidifier, and venting ducts, but it doesn’t have to be wrapped around an air conditioning unit or compressor. An efficient furnace-only system will always have these three elements—a blower, heating element, and access panel for changing filters—but they can be supplemented with other components that must be purchased separately.

Furnaces come in several types, including electric, natural gas, propane, and oil, with distinct advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your current needs, you might find that one type stands out as the best option for your home.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces can be powerful and fast heating options for tiny houses and mobile homes where space is limited. Electric furnaces run on electricity and are typically more expensive to operate than other types of furnaces. They don’t exhaust any fumes, but they may cause indoor environmental pollution if not properly vented out through a chimney or duct system. There’s less risk of fire with electric furnaces because there’s no pilot light, but you should still take preventive measures such as making sure the machine vents heat outside the house.

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