A number of people get confused when it comes to furnace installation to replace their old furnace. With so many options,trying to figure out which one is the best can be overwhelming for most people. You may be familiar with furnaces installed in a vertical position. But when you happen to go to the market, you will find different types of furnaces that can be installed in both upward and downward direction.
So, which heating system should you choose for your home? And does it really matter whether you choose a horizontal or vertical heating system. This blog post will help you find answers to your questions relating to furnace installation.
Furnace Installation: Horizontal or Vertical?
Furnaces and air handlers can be installed either vertically, horizontally, or both. Horizontal furnace installation can be performed on units that are installed in garages, attics, or basements. This is done by placing the heating unit on a platform or in some cases suspended from the ceiling.
Vertical installation, on the other hand, that is also known as an upright installation can be performed in two ways:
- Up-flow installation
- Down-flow installation
The flow in vertical furnace installation means the direction of the air that passes through the furnace. In an up-flow installation the warm air is directed upwards, while the cold air is taken from the bottom. Opposite is the case with down-flow installation.
The horizontal and vertical installation differs in many aspects. Below we will take a brief look at each of the different types of heating system. Understanding the difference between the two types of installation is important, as it will ensure that the heating system best fits your home needs.
Horizontal Furnace Installation
Horizontal furnaces are usually installed in homes with limited spaces. These furnaces take air from one side, heat it up in the gas chamber, and then expel it from the other side. They are usually placed in the attic or roof of the house.
Vertical Furnace Installation
Vertical furnace installation is of two types. We will briefly take a look at each of the two types of installation so that you can decide which one will suit your needs the best.
In an upflow furnace, air is taken from the bottom of the unit. This air is then warmed in the heat exchanger and then blows upward through the home ductwork. Upflow furnace units should be placed in a crawlspace or basement to ensure maximum energy efficiency.
There are a number of benefits of upflow furnace installations. Since warm air rises upwards, an upflow furnace is more energy efficient as compared to downflow furnaces. Moreover, these furnaces heat from the floor up, which most people more comfortable as compared to downflow furnaces.
Other than that, there are no extra requirements for extra flooring with this type of furnace. An upflow furnace can easily rest on the concrete of the basement. This is unlike downflow furnaces that require the heating system to be typically placed in the attic.
In contrast to an upflow furnace, a downflow furnace take air at the top of the cabinet, heats it up, and then blows it downwards through the ducts. As such, a downflow furnace is usually placed in the attic of the rooms. That said, they are sometimes also placed in the garage of a home
A challenge with installing downflow furnaces is that they need reinforced subflooring. Their installation is more complicated as compared to an upflow furnace. Apart from that, they are not as energy efficient as the heated air is forced downwards against their natural tendency to rise due to convection.
Downflow furnace is usually the second choice of most homeowners when it comes to choosing between downflow and upflow furnace installation, and are selected only if a home does not have a crawlspace or basement for installing the heater. So, the main advantage of a downflow furnace is that it can be installed in any type of home.
You can have the system installed on the main floor of a room apart from the attic. In case of a limited space, a downflow furnace can also be installed on its side. In such a case, the furnace becomes a horizontal furnace that we had described in the previous section.
Other Types of Installation
Apart from the standard horizontal and vertical, there are other types of furnace installation that are less commonly used in the homes. These include an upflow/horizontal, downflow/horizontal, and multi-position installation. Although both the upflow downflow furnaces can be installed in horizontally, the direction of air does not change. On the other hand, the owner can change the direction of air in case of a multi-flow installation as per the requirements.
Deciding between Horizontal and Vertical Installation
The main factors that should be considered when deciding between horizontal and vertical installation include price, energy efficiency, and space requirement. Generally, horizontal installation is best when there is limited space inside the house. However, if the space is not an issue then it’s better to top for vertical installation of the furnace.
Horizontal and vertical furnaces are similar when it comes to price. Although when it comes to cost savings, vertically positioned furnaces in general, and upflow installation in particular, results in maximum energy efficiency. With an upflow furnace the warm air flows upwards. Since this is according to the law of convection so less energy is required in operating the unit.
The benefit of horizontal furnaces is that they can be installed in areas with limited spaces. These furnaces don’t need a basement or garage, as is the case with upflow installation units. However, since the warm air flows from side to side, this results in less efficiency in heating up the room.
On a final note, there are factors other than direction of the heater that must be considered when installing the furnace. It’s advisable that you contact a processional technician to find out which furnace type will offer you the best benefits.