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Oil Furnace Repair: When to Call in a Professional

by Trane Maintenance tips. Visit HERE for complete story.
What’s the recipe for success when it comes to oil furnaces? Keeping a regular maintenance schedule of things you can do yourself, plus calling in a licensed HVAC professional for routine check ups and when things go wrong, equals an oil furnace that lives a long and happy life warming your home.

Furnace buying guide: Everything you need to know to find the best furnace for your homeBy Lauren Ward, ©CNET; Visit HERE for the complete story.Whether you're looking for gas, electric or another furnace option, we've got you covered with our ultimate furnace buying guide.

With the end of the year bringing cooler temperatures, you'll want to make sure you keep your home and loved ones warm until spring. That means potentially buying a new furnace.

There are four different types of furnace currently on the market:

  1. * Electric
  2. * Natural gas
  3. * Oil
  4. * Propane

Each type of furnace heats the air a little differently and has a different operating cost.

Electric furnaces

Electric furnaces are often the cheapest of the four to purchase and are easier to install and maintain. However, because they run solely on electricity, they can be quite expensive to operate.
Think of an electric furnace as you would a hair dryer or toaster. The furnace pulls cold air into an exchanger where it is then heated over electric heating elements. Once heated, the warm air is pushed into your home via ductwork.

Even though an electric furnace costs more to operate, the plus side is that it doesn't produce any carbon monoxide -- making it safer for the environment and your family's health.

Natural gas furnaces

If you live near a natural gas line, a natural gas furnace can be more affordable to operate than an electric furnace -- especially if there is already a natural gas line running to your home.

A natural gas furnace works by igniting natural gas inside of your furnace's burner. The flames heat up a metal heat exchanger, which in turns heats incoming cold air received from your home's ductwork. The warm air is then pushed into your home by a blower via its ductwork.

Natural gas furnaces require a flue for the exhaust to exit your home. The flue pipe will need to be inspected at least once a year to prevent poisonous gasses from entering your home.

A gas furnace costs more to purchase than an electric furnace, but because it uses natural gas as opposed to electricity, it is less expensive to operate. It is also more powerful than an electric furnace because it is able to heat the air within the heat exchange chamber more quickly.

Oil furnaces

Oil furnaces work much the same way as a natural gas furnace. Once activated, the furnace draws oil from the tank into a burning chamber. Instead of being directly lit, however, it is first converted into a mist and then sprayed onto a burner. Once ignited, air is pulled into a chamber near the burner where it is heated and sent back into the home through the ductwork.

Oil burns at a hotter temperature than natural gas, which means it heats up homes faster. However, keep in mind that oil furnaces require an oil tank, which are often buried near homes.

Propane furnaces

Propane furnaces also operate much the same way as a natural gas furnace, except they do not require a flue. It's possible, instead, to simply install a direct vent beside it on an exterior wall. This eliminates the need to have a flue regularly inspected and cleaned.

However, even though it is similar to natural gas, propane furnaces are more efficient. The result is that you don't have to burn as much propane to get the same amount of warmth you'd get with a natural gas furnace.