4 Types of Furnaces. Here’s what you need to know.

    What if my furnace breaks down? 

    Furnaces are a necessity in Alaska, so when yours breaks down, it becomes an urgent problem, fast. Rest assured, Mountain Mechanical is a group of certified technicians, always on call, to handle any of your HVAC needs, no matter what type of furnace you have.  

    There are four types of furnaces:

    • natural gas
    • oil
    • baseboard
    • propane

    Natural Gas Furnaces

    Natural gas (forced air furnaces) are a highly economical and efficient choice. These furnaces are becoming a more popular heating preference because they offer high energy efficiency, making them cheaper in the long run.

    • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of a natural gas furnace is 15 to 20 years depending on furnace use, maintenance checks, and proper filter use. 
    • Energy-Efficiency: Natural gas furnaces often range from 80% to 98% efficient. A furnace with an energy efficiency rating of 98% will require less natural gas to heat your home than a unit with a lower rating. 
    • Maintenance: Natural gas furnaces require an annual inspection but also monthly/quarterly air filter changes. (If you have indoor pets, you may find that you need to change filters more frequently.)
    • Cost: Initial purchase costs are dependent on the size of the furnace you need to purchase to adequately/correctly heat the size of your house, as well as the energy efficiency rating. Natural gas furnaces often have a higher initial purchase cost but offer a cheaper heating option over time. 
    types of furnaces- an air vent cover in floor

    Oil Furnaces

    In terms of BTU, oil furnaces provide more heat than any other heating source. Oil furnaces require an on-site oil storage tank with ease of access for oil delivery.

    • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of an oil furnace is up to 25 years depending on furnace use and maintenance checks. 
    • Energy Efficiency: Oil furnaces are slightly less efficient than natural gas furnaces. These furnace options typically range between 70%-90% efficiency. 
    • Maintenance: Oil furnaces require regular and preventive maintenance checks, an oil storage tank, and oil deliveries. 
    • Cost: The upfront cost of an oil furnace is around 25-30% cheaper than a natural gas furnace but has lower efficiency and higher oil fuel prices.

    Baseboard Heating Options – Electric and hydronic (water)

    Electric Baseboards

    • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of an electric furnace is 35 years but dependant on furnace use and maintenance checks.
    • Energy Efficiency: When purchasing an electric furnace option, you can reduce utility costs by buying an energy-efficient unit with a higher Energy Star rating. This rating gives certification for energy-saving and eco-friendly products.
    • Maintenance: One advantage of electric furnaces is longevity and durability. The furnace units often need fewer repairs. However, electric furnaces still require annual maintenance checks. 
    • Cost: Electric furnaces are the cheapest heating option to purchase and have installed. These units can be upwards of 50% cheaper than gas and oil furnaces. However, the cost of electricity is much higher than gas, which can have you comparing your furnace options.

    Hydronic Baseboards

    • Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of a hydronic baseboard heating system is 20 years. With proper maintenance, we can help you extend the life of your unit.
    • Energy Efficiency: Hot water baseboard heaters offer high energy efficiencies and provide long lashing heat, once the system is heated up. 
    • Maintenance: Hydronic baseboards require less maintenance but can bring costly repairs if not maintained. We advise a yearly maintenance check of your heating system to check your boiler, floor pan, and radiator system. A system flush is suggested every 3 to 5 years. This will help remove any sludge or build-up that may occur within the pipes. Clogged pipes can cause cold rooms, and in some cases cracked and leaking pipes. 
    • Cost: Hydronic Baseboard installs can cost up to four times as much as electric but is a less expensive heating option to operate in the long run. 

    Propane Heating 

    Propane heating options are available if gas and oil are not readily accessible in the area. We currently do not service propane heating equipment.

    How old is your furnace type?


    Make sure you know the age of your current heating unit. Knowing the age of your furnace will help you minimize unexpected furnace repairs and emergency furnace replacements. If your type of furnace is nearing life expectancy, you should begin shopping for a replacement so that you can make the best decision for your heating unit replacement.

    Is Your Furnace Ready For Maintenance?

    Call us if you need a heating technician in Anchorage or Eagle River, Alaska.

    Our team can properly assess the condition of your furnace. We can make recommendations for maintenance repairs and provide furnace replacement cost options.

    Please note that we do not service mobile home furnaces.

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