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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

What Should I Do If My Gravity Furnace Has Asbestos?


If you live in a vintage home, then you may be the unknowing owner of a gravity furnace. If you haven’t heard about this kind of furnace, then you aren’t alone. Gravity furnaces are rapidly going out of style for more than one reason, which we will get into.

If you aren’t looking at a furnace replacement at the moment, then it is a good idea to learn a bit more about these systems, especially if yours still has asbestos on it.

Yes, you read that right. Asbestos was commonly used for insulation for these systems when their use was more widespread. Now is a good time to have your gravity furnace checked to see if you’d benefit from asbestos removal in Minneapolis, MN and if you should consider a furnace replacement in the near future.

What exactly is a gravity furnace?

Gravity furnaces are a kind of heater that relies on gravity to deliver heat throughout your home.

It is somewhat common knowledge that heat rises. Gravity furnaces were made to put this thermodynamic principle to work for them. Rather than blowing warm air into the house, these systems let warm air rise naturally to heat the house.

While operating without a fan may sound energy efficient, these systems are declining in use for a reason. Since there’s no fans, it takes far longer to heat the house. It also means that the further a room is from the furnace, the colder it is likely to be. On top of this, gravity furnaces are also paired with asbestos, which will will explain next.

Asbestos and gravity furnace systems

Haven’t heard of asbestos? We can hope this is because you’ve never had to worry about it being present in your home in the past! However, you should familiarize yourself with what it is and why it is a problem.

Asbestos is a material made of heat-resistant fibers. It used to be used in homes more commonly until it was found that this material is highly carcinogenic. Unfortunately, asbestos and gravity furnaces were commonly paired up since asbestos helps insulate the system and keeps heat in the furnace and ductwork until it is released into the home.

Your options

First things first, if you think or you know that your gravity furnace has asbestos in it, then you will want to talk to our team about asbestos removal. This is extremely important for the sake of your health. It requires a special approach to remove this material without releasing it into the house’s airflow.

Beyond this, it may also be a good time to consider a furnace replacement. As we touched on above, gravity furnaces aren’t as effective or efficient as modern systems. If you are looking for a system that will warm your home more evenly and lower your energy bills, then a more modern gas-powered or all-electric furnace may the best investment. Likewise, you may want to consider switching to a heat pump.

We will help you stay comfortable. Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning for asbestos removal, furnace replacement, and more.

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