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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Should I Replace My Gravity Furnace?


The furnaces that many of us are familiar with today aren’t the systems that have always been around. People have innovated over the years, trying to find the most effective and efficient ways to keep homes warm. While today’s furnaces use a blower fan system to push warm air through the house, previous iterations of the system used gravity to try to do their job.

These systems, known as gravity furnaces, may seem like a good idea. However, there is a reason that they aren’t used any more. Multiple reasons, actually. We’ll explain these reasons below along with why you should opt for a gravity furnace replacement in Minneapolis, MN.

How a Gravity Furnace Works

Gravity furnaces are made to use a fundamental principle about heat to their advantage: heat rises. These systems don’t blow heated air through the house. Instead, they create warm air that rises through the ductwork in the home and naturally heats the house.

While the concept of a gravity furnace seems simple, the reality is that these systems come with their fair share of issues.

Why Gravity Furnaces Are No Longer Common

So if gravity furnaces work with a basic understanding of how heat moves, then why aren’t they used as much as forced-air furnaces? This is because there are a few problems that come with gravity furnaces:

  • They are less effective. Yes, heat does rise. But this doesn’t mean that the heat a gravity furnace produces will heat the house evenly. This can leave you with some areas of the home that are more well-heated than others. Plus, more of the heat this system creates is lost up the chimney.
  • They are less efficient. How would you feel knowing that up to 50% of the energy used in a gravity furnace essentially goes out the chimney? It would likely be frustrating. Unfortunately, it’s true! A modern forced-air furnace is 98% efficient, in comparison to the 50% a gravity furnace offers.
  • They use asbestos. A common type of insulation that was used when gravity furnaces were installed more often was asbestos. This insulation is now well-known for being a health hazard. Many homes that are equipped with these systems also have asbestos on the furnaces and the ductwork that is attached to it, increasing the risks to their respiratory health.

While they are still around in some homes, gravity furnaces are a system that should be replaced. Aside from being less effective and efficient, the fact that they are usually coated in asbestos makes them more likely to be harmful than helpful.

If you have a gravity furnace, you may be curious about getting the system replaced. Our team can help with this. We specialize in asbestos removal, along with furnace replacement. We can figure out the right size for your system, assess the condition of your ducts, and outfit your home with a highly-efficient heater.

Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning today for your furnace services. We are committed to your 100% satisfaction.

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