What type of fuel does my HVAC use?

Do you know what type of fuel your HVAC system uses? Whether you purchased a new home or are planning an upgrade shortly, understanding this basic concept can help you when planning with your HVAC installation company. There are five primary types of fuel, though first let’s look at how your furnace turns fuel into heat.

How your HVAC turns fuel into heat
Let’s go back to middle school science class. A few months ago, we covered how a furnace transforms its fuel source into heat. To quickly summarize, your thermostat tells your furnace to engage. Next, the pilot light within your ignition chamber burns the fuel. Then, the blower unit pushes that warmed air through your ductwork.

The process is the same whether your furnace uses natural gas, propane, and heating oil. It’s slightly different from the last two sources: water (within a boiler) and electric systems. Nevertheless, the basic concept of transforming the fuel source into heat is relatively similar.

Natural gas pipelines
When a homeowner lives within a municipality or close enough to a community, they often utilize natural gas pipelines as fuel for their HVAC unit. These are served by underground pipes and one of the primary reasons you should “Call Before You Dig.”

Natural gas furnaces are efficient. They cost less to run and can heat to high temperatures. As a result, they are also the most common furnace type in the US with an estimate placing their usage as high as 50% across the country.

Outdoor propane tank
Likewise, an outdoor propane tank is an equally as efficient method of heating your home. The above 50% statistic would include homes that use propane as their source of heating fuel. The primary difference is that an outside propane tank sits somewhere on your property. A propane supplier typically fills the tank sometime before the weather begins to drop and occasionally mid-season, depending on how cold it has been in our region.

Heating oil
Functionally, heating oil furnaces aren’t too dissimilar to their natural gas or propane brethren. The primary difference is its chemical composition. Heating oil is similar to diesel as it is low viscosity.

Water
Have you ever thought of water as a fuel source? If you have a boiler, you might have. Boilers are far less common in homes than in industrial facilities or educational institutions. Nevertheless, water is a type of fuel some homes use.
Electric HVAC systems

Finally, some homes have electric furnaces. In this case, their source of fuel can vary, depending on where they live. Some power companies use a mix of solar, nuclear, coal, and even natural gas to generate electricity. While your “home’s” fuel is electricity, the root of that electricity itself may come from a variety of other mediums.

Servicing your HVAC, regardless of the type of fuel
We’ve been working with homeowners across the Salt Lake City region for many years, servicing their HVAC systems regardless of the type of fuel. From natural gas to electric furnaces, we can help with them all.

Is it time for an annual inspection or do you need an estimate for services to replace or upgrade your existing HVAC setup? If so, request your free quote HERE or give our office a call at (801) 980-0903. We’ll look over your info and follow up ASAP with a time to go over your needs and how we can help.

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