Upflow vs. Downflow Furnace: What’s the Difference?

There are a lot of choices when it comes to installing a furnace, and one of the choices has to do with how the warm air will flow from your furnace. It may seem like a small detail, but the way the air flows – either up or down – directly affects the placement of your furnace. If you are looking to install a new furnace for this winter’s heating, it’s important to know some basic functions of a furnace so that you can make an informed decision. Working with trained heating professionals in Coeur d’Alene, like the ones at ACI Northwest, helps to ensure that you install a heating system that fits your home and your needs, so call us today.

Upflow Furnace

An upflow furnace takes in air from the bottom of the unit, warms it in the heat exchanger, and then blows it upward into the ductwork of your home. Upflow furnaces need to be placed in a basement or crawlspace to be energy efficient, as they work on the principle that warm air rises. Some of the benefits of an upflow furnace are:

  • Better energy efficiency – because heat rises, upflow furnaces tend to be more energy efficient than downflow ones.
  • Comfort – upflow furnaces heat from the floor up, and many people find this a little more comfortable than from the ceiling down.
  • No need for extra flooring – upflow furnaces can rest directly on the concrete of your basement; with a downflow system, flooring needs to be reinforced, as downflow systems are typically placed in attics.

Downflow Furnace

As you may have guessed, a downflow furnace takes in air at the top of the cabinet, warms it, and then disperses it down into your home’s ductwork. As such, the placement of a downflow furnace is commonly in attic space, although it can also be placed in a garage or on the main level of a home. Some of the challenges with a downflow furnace are that installation can be more complicated, as there are stricter requirements for downflow furnaces (they also need reinforced subflooring), and they fight the natural tendency of hot air to rise. However, not all homes have a basement or crawlspace, so the benefit of a downflow furnace is that it fits with every kind of home.

Understanding your choices can help you choose a heating system that best fits your home. Call ACI Northwest today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

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