Learning About Residential Furnaces

What Is A Downflow Style Furnace And When Is The Style The Best Choice For A Home?

Furnace models often advertise as being either an upflow or downflow type unit. The different flow types refer to the orientation of the installed unit and the direction the hot air blows out from the furnace. A downflow furnace points the hot air in a downward direction into your living spaces.

Downflow furnaces have a few essential pros and con that, when weighed, can help you determine whether this is the right style of unit for your home. If you need more help in choosing a unit, contact your local heating contractors.

Pro / Con: Attic Offers Great Ventilation but Requires Bracing

Downflow units install in the attic since that's above all of your living areas. Most attics have good ventilation to keep your storage space from becoming musty and that ventilation can also benefit the furnace, which requires circulating air around the unit to help with the combustion process.

The potential downside is that furnace units are heavy and your attic might not have the support structures in place to hold that much weight securely. Your HVAC installers will need to add that bracing to make sure the furnace doesn't fall through the roof. The bracing can add to your installation costs and take up more of your storage space than the furnace alone.

Con: Heat Travels Upwards Naturally

Convection is the scientific concept that basically explains that heat travels upwards naturally. The downflow furnace is trying to get heat to act against its nature, which means your furnace won't run as efficiently as an upflow unit. Your home will still receive hot air, the system will simply need to push its motorized fans a little harder in order to force that air in a downwards direction.

Pro: Great Option if You Lack a Basement

So a downflow unit might cost more to install and could prove less efficient than an upflow unit. Why would anyone consider a downflow, then? Simple: not everyone has a basement.

Upflow units have to be installed in the basement to force the warm air upwards into your home. If you don't have a basement, the only other place you could install an upflow unit would be on the first story, which would negate many of the benefits of that type of unit. A downflow furnace would prove a better choice than an improperly installed upflow heater.

Still unsure? Contact your local HVAC company (like Kangas Burner & Heating Service) for advice.