Over the years, innovations have yielded different furnaces operating on different types of fuel. Each has various pros and cons and appeals to different people. The main differentiating demarcations include the energy efficiency, cost, installation procedures, maintenance and type of fuel. The article delves into the various modern types available.
Electric fireplaces produce realistic flames. The flames are created through filtered lighting. Electric powered furnaces easy to use and install. Most features already assembled units; all that is required is a power socket. Such ease of design allows designers and innovators to come up with elegant designs. The units are also easily customizable to fit the various modern house designs and trends.
· An added benefit of electric furnaces is the superior energy efficiency. They are more efficient than the other fuels. Most feature an efficiency of between 98 and 100 % efficiency, are virtually impossible to get with other fuels.
· The electric furnaces require less maintenance than natural gas furnaces. The minimal frequency of maintenance also proves to be cost effective in the end.
· It is important to note that electric furnaces have zero emissions. This reduces on the risks associated with wood, pellet and natural gas furnaces.
· A noted disadvantage of electric furnaces is the high cost of replacement and repair. Though they require minimal maintenance, when the repair is necessary, the cost can be quite high.
· The furnace requires much more to run than a gas furnace. Though electricity costs far less per unit than natural gas, the electric furnaces require more energy to heat a room. This translates to more utility bills.
Pellet fireplaces utilize renewable fuel as the main combustion material. The pellets are primarily biomass and wood by-products. The materials are readily available, especially in the rural areas, and provide instant heating solutions. The pellet fireplaces hold a significant advantage over the traditional wood stoves; the pellet variant utilizes an automatic feeding mechanism, with an installed thermostat and/remote control for adjustments.
· The units are very easy to install. The modern designs can fit in a prefabricated fireplace.
· The pellets burn cleaner than wood, this results to less combustion by-products.
· The pellets burn at lower temperatures than wood: This means the metal parts are less hot, making for higher safety, especially if you have children around the house.
· A major con is the need for alternative power source, especially for the automated type. The feeder hopper requires electricity to power the mechanism.
· It takes more pellets than hardwood to produce the same level of heat. However, the pellets have a superior efficiency than wood burning inserts. This means that the pellets are more expensive than wood. However, they are far cheaper than natural gas.
· Due to the automated sections, pellet furnaces require more maintenance procedures than regular furnaces. This of course translates to more costs
Propane as a source of fuel has seen increased usage in the recent years. The minimal venting requirements mean that they can be installed in almost any location. Secondly, the high flammability of propane offers instant flames and heat. This allows the homeowner to heat a room quickly, as well as turn the system off. The units do not require regular maintenance; all that is required is scheduled check-up of the monitors and adjustments for optimum performance.
Many health experts rue the absence of a chimney or flue. On-going debates suggest that the emissions pose a great danger to health. Manufacturers and innovators have sought to eliminate this disadvantage by installing oxygen and carbon monoxide detection safety devices. These installations automatically shut off the system if emissions exceed the set indoor air quality levels. The integrity of such monitoring systems, however, does fuel the health debate.
Wood burning furnaces have been around for ages. The modern designs are, however, more advanced and feature efficient, environmentally friendly and clean burning designs.
· Chimney requirements: Due to the combustion products, which include smoke, a chimney addition is mandatory. This requirement can limit the installation locations and inclusion in modern house designs.
· Manual loading of the wood: The user must be comfortable with continual stocking and loading.
· Emissions and deforestation: the main source of fuel, wood, is getting continuously hard to access. This can prove to be a costly venture in the long winter months, especially in the cities and urban areas.