If you live in a home or a building that is over 50 years old, you may have possibly seen an old plumbing contraption: a gravity furnace. The first ones were installed all the way back in the 1800s, while the newest iterations were put into homes in the 1950s. While some of them may still be functional, they are likely too old for safe use. When homeowners buy a vintage house and stumble upon one of these relics of the past, they are bound to ask, “Should you replace a gravity furnace?”
Should You Replace a Gravity Furnace?
Most home inspectors will tell you to get rid of that gravity furnace and replace it ASAP. Our experienced plumbing contractor in Highland will likely tell you the same. Unless you plan on preserving the home as a historical landmark, it’s best to start finding a modern heating option as soon as you can.
What Exactly is a Gravity Furnace?
The original gravity furnaces were built to burn coal for fuel, but some newer models also burn oil. As they burn, they defy gravity by pushing heat upward to let it disperse through vents and ducts in the house. Every individual duct connects back into the furnace directly, which can make it quite difficult to remove.
While gravity furnaces may still operate and provide heat to the home, they don’t offer much else. In fact, the disadvantages of something as old as a gravity furnace may outweigh the benefits that can also be found in newer and safer heating systems.
Why You Should Replace Your Gravity Furnace ASAP
While your old gravity furnace may not pose a fire hazard to your home, you could be wasting a lot of energy on an old system that does not heat as effectively as it could. The oil it takes to burn in the furnace is expensive, and the way the heat dissipates through the old ducts does not live up to the peak performance capabilities you will see in newer, centralized heating systems. Efficiency and possible asbestos buildup are the two biggest reasons why you should replace your gravity furnace right away.
Currently, the U.S. government requires that all home heating systems utilize at least 80% heating efficiency. These old furnaces don’t even operate at 50% efficiency, since most of the heat pulled up by gravity doesn’t even make it into the vents. In fact, there are currently measures to increase heating system efficiency to over 97% using modern technology.
Due to the age and makeup of gravity furnaces, it is possible that a buildup of asbestos has occurred. While it was once used as a regular insulation material in the 1980s, asbestos has now been banned as it has been proven to cause heart disease and cancer.
If you are worried about the possibility of asbestos buildup in or around your gravity furnace, get in touch with an asbestos abatement professional right away, and do not attempt to remove the furnace yourself. You may need to have some or all of your home insulation replaced as well.
Best New Heating System Options
Removing a gravity furnace is no simple task, but choosing your replacement is part of the fun. With the old system out of the way, you can choose what kind of heater will work best for your home. Both duct and ductless options are available, through electricity, natural gas, or alternative fuels. Modern heater systems are out of the way and are completely automated to give you better control over the temperature of your home.
If you want to keep the historical integrity of the home and don’t want to say goodbye to an old heater, try replacing your gravity furnace with a boiler instead. It is safer and more efficient while still historical enough to give your house that extra touch of charm.
Find New Heater Options at New Generation Plumbing
If you recently discovered an old heater or a gravity furnace in your home, you are probably wondering what the easiest options are. You can get in touch with our New Generation Plumbing experts to learn more about the possibility of a gravity furnace replacement in your house. We have plenty of modernized heating options that can help you transform your home into a comfortable space – where you have complete climate control. Contact our friendly team today to learn more!