What Is A Gravity Furnace & How Does It Work?
Gravity furnaces were one of the most popular ways to heat homes way back in the day.
A gravity furnace works similarly to a large stove. The gravity furnace has a chamber that burns fuel to generate heat that is then transferred through your air ducts to heat your home. Since heat rises, gravity furnaces are usually installed in basements to get the best air flow. Gravity furnaces are less common now since they are not as efficient as newer heating systems. Additionally, gravity furnaces are also harder to repair since they aren’t as common as standard furnaces. To find out more about heating systems, call us today.
Gravity furnaces are usually just as safe as a standard furnace made today. However, the main cause for concern is the material your gravity furnace is made out of. Most gravity furnaces contain asbestos, primarily in the insulation inside your air ducts, posing a health risk if the asbestos is disrupted. In some instances, you may be able to have the parts containing asbestos removed and replaced, but you will have to hire a specialized technician to perform the job in a manner that effectively and safely removes the asbestos. To learn more about heating systems, contact us today.
A few reasons you may want to replace your furnace include:
- Your furnace is over 15 years old.
- Your energy bills have increased drastically.
- Your furnace breaks down often.
Another reason you may want to replace your furnace is if it no longer heats your home effectively. Having your furnace replaced with a newer and more efficient furnace will save you money on energy and repair costs. To get your furnace replaced, give us a call today.
Gravity furnaces were quite popular back in the day.
These types of furnaces were installed from the late 1800’s to approximately the mid 1900’s, before gas and electric furnaces became the standard.
If you’ve ever seen one, you know they can look quite intimidating due to their size!
How Do Gravity Furnaces Work?
Gravity furnace operation is quite simple.
A fuel is inserted into the combustion chamber which would then heat the air surrounding it, and then this air would then rise through the duct work to heat the rest of the home.
Heat naturally rises, so there was no blower or motors involved.
The original gravity furnaces ran on coal, which would have to be replaced on a regular basis to keep the heat flowing.
In essence, it was a giant stove that heated the home at the time.
As technology progressed, new fuel sources such as propane, oil, and natural gas replaced the coal to heat the furnace.
Disadvantages of Gravity Furnaces
Most gravity furnaces today are due to be replaced just based on their age alone. If that’s not convincing enough, here are some other good reasons to replace:
- Low Efficiency – Today, furnace efficiency starts at 80% and go all the way up to 98%. Meaning at least 80% of the fuel burned is used to heat the home. Gravity furnaces on the other hand are lucky if they get to 50%. That’s a lot of wasted fuel and energy.
- Slow to heat home – because gravity furnaces don’t have blowers or motors, the time it takes to heat the home is much longer that a standard gas furnace of today.
- Not compatible with air conditioning – due to the fact that gravity furnaces don’t have blower motors, you wouldn’t be able to have an air conditioner installed as AC’s rely on the furnace blower to blow the cold air through your home.
- Asbestos – this hazardous material is a popular insulator and fireproofing material used around gravity furnaces. This material was eventually found to be hazardous and even cancer causing if inhaled.
- Limited repairs – due to the sheer age of these furnaces, having a furnace repair completed on one is almost impossible. Not to mention that it would be a general waste of money as well. Parts for these units are generally not manufactured anymore.