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Can A Furnace Be An Air Conditioner As Well?

You might be wondering if it’s possible to use your furnace as an air conditioner. The answer is yes-but it’s not as simple as flipping a switch. To use your furnace as an air conditioner, you must adjust its operation. You’ll also need to buy or borrow some additional equipment.

The good news is that using your furnace as an air conditioner can save you money on your cooling costs. The downside is that it can be a bit of a hassle to set up and maintain. Below, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to use your furnace as an air conditioner. But first, let’s learn more about a furnace.

A furnace is a heating system that uses an air handler to blow heated air through your home’s ductwork. The stove is fueled by gas, oil, or electricity and heats the air, which is then circulated throughout your house.

Many different types of furnaces are available on the market, so it’s essential to consult a heating specialist to find the best one for your needs. Some factors that will influence your decision include the size of your home, your budget, and the climate in your area.

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Here in Australia, there are three central furnaces: gas, electric, and oil. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to weigh all your options before making a decision.

The heat source in a furnace is typically a burner or heating element controlled by a thermostat. When the temperature inside the building drops below the desired setpoint, the thermostat signals the furnace to turn on and start heating the air. The heated air is then distributed through ducts and vents to various rooms in the building.

Furnaces are often found in homes and other buildings with centralized heating systems and can be used as the primary or backup heating source. The efficiency of a furnace is measured by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which indicates the percentage of fuel converted into usable heat. Modern furnaces have AFUE ratings ranging from 80% to 98%, with higher ratings showing higher efficiency and lower energy costs.

Types of Furnaces in Australia

In Australia, the common types of furnaces used for heating homes and buildings include:

  • Forced air furnace
  • Boiler furnace
  • Ductless Mini-Split furnace
  • Electric furnace
  • Gas furnace
  • Oil furnace
  • Geothermal furnace
  • Propane furnace.

Forced air furnace

A Heating system that uses a blower to distribute warm air through ducts to the rooms in a building.

Boiler furnace

A heating system uses hot water or steam generated by a boiler to heat a building.

Ductless Mini-Split furnace

A heating and cooling system consists of one or more indoor air handling units and outdoor condensing units.

Electric furnace

A heating system that uses electricity to generate heat for a building.

Gas furnace

A heating system that uses natural gas or propane as a fuel source to generate heat for a building.

Oil furnace

A heating system that uses heating oil as a fuel source to generate heat for a building.

Geothermal furnace

A heating system that uses heat from the earth to generate warmth for a building.

Propane furnace

A heating system that uses propane gas as a fuel source to generate heat for a building.

Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, gas furnaces are cheaper to run than electric furnaces, but they can be more expensive to install. Electric furnaces are the most common type of furnace in Australia, and they come in split and ducted systems. Heat pump furnaces are becoming increasingly popular because they have high-efficiency ratings and can be used to cool the home in summer and heat it in winter.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of a Furnace

The advantages of a furnace include the following:

  • Consistent and reliable heating
  • Energy efficiency (depending on the type of furnace)
  • Long lifespan (usually 15-20 years)
  • Quiet operation
  • Low maintenance costs

The disadvantages of a furnace include the following:

  • High initial cost (depending on the type of furnace)
  • Fuel dependence (for non-electric furnaces)
  • Need for regular maintenance and cleaning
  • Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Need for professional installation
  • Can be noisy
  • Risk of fire (if not installed or maintained correctly)

When it comes to heating and cooling your home, you have a few options. You can use a furnace, an air conditioner, or a heat pump. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

The furnace is the most common heating system in the United States. It works by blowing heated air through the ducts in your home. This type of system has several advantages:

How to Use a Furnace as an Air Conditioner

In addition to heating, some furnaces can also be used as air conditioners. This is a dual-fuel system where the furnace and air conditioner work together to provide heating and cooling. The concept of using a furnace as an air conditioner is simple: the furnace has a heat exchanger that is used to transfer heat from the furnace to the air in the home. When used as an air conditioner, the heat exchanger transfers heat from the air inside the home to the outside air, effectively cooling the air inside the house.

Using a furnace as an air conditioner does have its advantages, and the greatest one is the potential for significant savings on your utility bills. Using your furnace as an air conditioner, you’re essentially running a single unit instead of two—a furnace and an air conditioner.

Pros and Cons of Using a Furnace as an Air Conditioner

Advantages of using a furnace as an air conditioner include:

  1. Cost savings: By having one device that can perform heating and cooling functions, you can save money on the cost of separate heating and cooling units.
  2. Convenience: With a single device performing heating and cooling functions, you only need to worry about one unit instead of two.
  3. Space-saving: Using a furnace as an air conditioner eliminates the need for a separate air conditioning unit, freeing up space in your home.
  4. Energy Efficiency: If the furnace and air conditioning unit is designed to work together, they can be more energy-efficient than separate units.

Disadvantages of using a furnace as an air conditioner include:

  1. Reduced Efficiency: Using a furnace as an air conditioner can decrease energy efficiency as the furnace has to switch between heating and cooling modes.
  2. Maintenance Requirements: The furnace needs to be regularly maintained and repaired to ensure both heating and cooling functions are working correctly.
  3. Compatibility Issues: Some older furnace models may not be compatible with air conditioning systems and require significant modifications or upgrades.
  4. Lack of Specialized Features: Furnaces designed to be used as air conditioners may lack the specialized features and functionality of dedicated air conditioning units.
  5. Increased Complexity: A furnace-air conditioner system is more complex than separate heating and cooling units and may require more advanced skills to repair and maintain.

It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consult a professional to determine if a furnace-air conditioner system is suitable for your specific needs. DGB Refrigeration Heating & Cooling can help you identify which unit would be sufficient for your needs. All you have to do is dial 03 7038 6918 and speak with our dedicated professionals.

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Maintenance Tips on Your Furnace

If you use your furnace as an air conditioner, get regular maintenance checks since it will work harder than usual. Make sure the filters are changed more regularly, as well as check for any dysfunctional parts that may cause energy costs to increase over time. By keeping up with regular inspections and maintenance, you’ll keep your furnace running efficiently and safely while keeping energy costs low.

Conclusion

In the summer, it’s a good idea to switch your furnace off and use it as an air conditioner. It can save you money on your energy bills and is an excellent way to cool down your home.

DGB Refrigeration Heating & Cooling has a solution for all your heating and cooling needs. You must call us by dialing 03 7038 6918, and we will be more than happy to help you out.

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