What Is A Condensing Furnace?

If you're thinking of replacing your furnace, you may be considering various models and discussing them with your HVAC team. One thing you may notice is that a lot of the furnaces available these days are condensing furnaces. What are condensing furnaces, and why are they so popular? Take a look.

Condensing Furnaces: Defined 

Condensing furnaces are those that have two heat exchangers. The first heat exchanger captures heat from the fuel that is burned—which is usually natural gas. Fumes or exhaust are generated during this process. The second heat exchanger extracts heat from these exhaust gasses. This process results in the condensation of any vapor that was in those gasses. This condensation is pumped out of the furnace and into a drain. From an observational standpoint, this condensation is the key thing that separates standard furnaces from condensing furnaces—and that's how they got their name.

The Advantages of Condensing Furnaces

Since condensing furnaces are more complex and cost more than the simple, single-exchange furnaces of the past, you may wonder whether one is worth the investment. In most cases, the answer is "yes." Condensing furnaces are far more efficient than one-exchange furnaces. They are able to get a lot of heat from the exhaust gasses, which otherwise would have just been vented out the chimney. Getting more heat out of the same amount of fuel is good for your wallet and for the environment. With a condensing furnace, your heating bills should go down, but your home will still stay nice and warm.

Intricacies of Condensing Furnaces

The main intricacy that comes with installing one of these furnaces is ensuring it is vented properly. These furnaces cannot be vented out a big chimney like your old furnace. They have to be vented out of a smaller, PVC tube. An HVAC installation company can easily install this vent, but they will need to drill a hole in your exterior wall to do so. As such, this sometimes means your new condensing furnace needs to be put in a different spot to make the vent more convenient to access and install.

If your HVAC contractor is recommending condensing furnaces to you, there is a good reason for this. Condensing furnaces are essentially the go-to for most homeowners in recent years as they offer far greater efficiency. You pay a little more for these furnaces, but you soon make up for it in the form of energy savings.

Contact a local HVAC company, such as E & R Heating & Cooling, to learn more.