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A gas furnace is the indoor unit of a gas heating central HVAC split system. While gas furnaces can be used as stand-alone units for homes that do not have central cooling, they are most commonly found as part of a system.
Gas furnaces are exactly what they sound like: A furnace powered by natural or liquid propane gas. Gas-powered heat is typically a much more powerful and lower-cost alternative to electric heat. A gas furnace contains burners within a combustion chamber that ignite and generate heat. The heat then enters the heat exchanger transferring heat to the air and is delivered throughout the ductwork by a blower motor.
Unlike electric cooling and heating units, gas furnace efficiency is measured in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), which represents how efficiently a particular model furnace can use its fuel. For example, an 80% AFUE furnace will convert 80% of its fuel into usable energy to heat your home. A 96% AFUE furnace uses 96% of its fuel, and so on.
Higher efficiency furnaces (95% and above) are referred to as “condensing furnaces” as they feature two heat exchangers (2-Stage heating) which condense the gases as they cool. These types of furnaces also require additional venting to the outside for the remaining gases.
Much like air handlers, gas furnaces also feature a blower motor that delivers heated or conditioned air throughout the home and air filters which improve indoor air quality. Furnaces can come with either multi-speed or variable speed motors.
Gas furnaces can also be converted to utilize Liquid Propane as their primary fuel by installing an LP Conversion Kit.