Heater Repair-What Kind of Heat Do I Have?

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What kind of furnace do I have? That is an important question, especially when the furnace isn’t working and you need heater repair.

While it might seem that one would know what kind of heat they have, not so, if you’ve just moved in. Maybe it’s a rental or a vacation rental or it’s been warm and who has needed heat?  Until it gets cold, then you are interested!

Furnaces are appliances that burn stuff. There are two common kinds of furnaces. There’s forced air and there’s the boiler type.

How do you tell which you have? It’s pretty easy. If you have “registers” in each room that have warm air blowing out of them, that’s forced air.

If you have radiators, either freestanding or baseboard type, that indicates that you have a boiler.

Another way to use boilers is radiant floor heat. That’s a bunch of pipes that run through the floor and warm the floor up, which heats up the room. Very nice, but pricey to install.

You can have heat and have it not be a furnace. You could have electric baseboard heat. Or electric wall heaters.

Next thing to figure out is what fuel your heater uses. There are six common types.

  • Coal, not the usual, generally used with a boiler. If you have coal, you probably noticed.
  • Electric heat is easy, but pricey. It’s the most expensive heat source.
  • Fuel Oil, If you’ve been in the house for a while then you will have filled a fuel oil tank. Generally used with a boiler
  • LPG or propane. That’s an above ground tank that gets filled every once in a while. Generally rural homes, with gas furnaces that don’t have gas piped to the house use propane.
  • Natural gas, or methane, that’s the gas that is piped to urban homes, It’s a pretty common way to heat homes. It burns clean, it’s relatively cost effective and it’s generally pretty trouble free.
  • Wood, you probably noticed. You’d have a wood stove or a fireplace in the living room and a pile of wood outside.

That pretty well covers it, if you live in a house. It shouldn’t take too long to nose around and figure out where the heat is or should be coming from. If your heat isn’t working, you now know enough to be able to have a conversation with the heater repair technician. Click Here