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Furnaces 101

Furnaces 101

What you should know before shopping for your new furnace

Buying a furnace deserves that we invest a little bit of shopping time: it is important to properly assess our needs and to call upon an experienced dealer who has the ability to suggest the appropriate system according to our specifications and that offers the best energy efficiency available.

There are various types of furnaces on the market: electric, gas or propane, oil and wood. The choice will of course depend on available energy sources, but the most popular, the most efficient in terms of energy savings and environmentally friendly attributes, are electric and gas furnaces.

Electric furnaces

An electric furnace heats the air using electric resistance. The heated air is then blown by a fan through a network of ducts and distributed evenly throughout your house. A furnace equipped with an Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM) provides better performance and greater comfort since it automatically adjusts blower speed according to heating requirements, allowing a more efficient use of energy.

Gas furnaces

A gas furnace is also a forced air system. Energized with natural gas and outside air, it has a burner, heat exchanger and a fan. The burner proceeds to gas combustion, while the heat exchanger recovers the heat of the flue gases from the combustion which is mixed with the fresh air and heat. The fan then blows the hot air through the ventilation ducts.


Electric furnace

  • Does not emit hazardous particles or soot in the air
  • Does not require installation of an exhaust chimney
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Has a very low noise level and is very reliable
  • Has an approximate lifespan of 20 years

Gas furnace

  • Well-maintained and calibrated, doesn’t emit soot, nor dust, nor black smoke, nor ashes
  • Extremely safe and efficient thanks to the current design methods
  • Is powered by the cleanest fossil energy

Every expert will tell you: longevity of your equipment depends mainly on the maintenance performed over the years. In the case of a gas furnace, life expectancy can reach up to 15 years if it has been subject to regular maintenance. Because it is a simpler operation, an electrical appliance may in turn supply 20 years of service under the same conditions.


Electric furnaces require minimal maintenance. However, it is recommended to hire a certified contractor for annual maintenance which will include the cleaning or replacement of filters and maintenance of the fan.

Gas furnaces, on the other hand, require a little more attention: it is strongly recommended to ensure maintenance before the beginning of each heating season to ensure the efficiency, longevity and the safe operation of the unit. Only a certified contractor is qualified to clean, adjust and replace parts if necessary.