One of the difficulties we often find with furnaces is that people in Southern California simply aren’t familiar enough with them. This means many homeowners can fall prey to bad advice coming from websites, friends, and unscrupulous and unprofessional contractors. We want to clear up and correct some of this terrible advice about furnaces to help you better understand your furnace. This will aid you when you’re looking for heating repair in Van Nuys, CA or if you’re considering having a furnace installed, either as the first heater for a home or a heating replacement.
“Furnace size is unimportant, just get the most powerful you can afford”
This is a common bit of advice that’s also given for air conditioners. It’s 100% false. “Size” in this case means how much heating power a furnace can put out, not necessarily physical size. A furnace must be sized for the heating needs of the house, and numerous factors affect this. A furnace that’s too small obviously won’t provide enough heat. But what about going too big? It means a furnace that shuts off too early and performs in short-cycles that waste power and put immense strain on the unit. Make sure when your furnace is installed that it is sized correctly.
“You don’t need professionals to install a new furnace.”
No! It’s urgent that you never listen to this advice. We understand many people enjoy doing DIY projects as a way to save money, but trying to DIY a furnace installation or allowing amateurs to do it is a quick route to disaster. The complexity of a gas furnace makes it impossible for a non-professional to install. It’s also dangerous, and in most jurisdictions illegal, to install a gas furnace unless you are specially licensed and trained. Go straight to certified HVAC professionals for any installation.
“The furnace fuel source isn’t important.”
Furnaces can use a range of energy types. Electricity and natural gas are the most common, and we’ve specifically addressed gas furnaces in this post because they’re found in the majority of homes. There are also oil and propane furnaces on the market. The choice of fuel isn’t arbitrary: it has a large impact on heating, safety, comfort, and convenience. For example, electrical furnaces are less costly to install up front and need fewer repairs than a gas furnace, but they also cost more to run and are slower to provide heat. Work closely with your installer to ensure you have the ideal type of unit.
“A gas furnace dries out the air in your house.”
Not really. The action of the burners in a natural gas furnace doesn’t do anything to dry the air. However, a standard atmospheric combustion furnace draws on air inside the house to light the burners, and this leaves an air deficit that causes outside air to flow indoors, air that’s often drier. A sealed combustion furnace won’t do this, and the drop in winter humidity isn’t too steep in Southern California.
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