What is downflow, upflow, horizontal flow and how does it affect my furnace?

When it comes to HVAC help, it seems that people are ever increasingly in the dark so to speak as to the inner workings of the HVAC industry.  Many feel this is by design of the industry as it keep information in the hands of the industry and out of the homeowners.  I personally just think that the majority of home owners simply aren’t interested enough in the subject for it to be widely distributed and offered.  That said, some simple questions are always going to be on people’s minds and the web is a great place to find the answer.  Let’s delve into a topic that people often learn about when it comes time to first install a furnace or change the one that they already have in their home: what is downflow, upflow, and horizontal flow and how does it relate to my furnace?  As to which is the best option in your home, it is best to contact a certified installer and have them come out and give you their well informed opinion.

What is a downflow furnace?
Let’s start with the downflow furnaces.  When we are talking downflow, we are talking how the cold outside air gets from the furnace into the place it intends to heat.  In the case of a downflow furnace the cold air is added to the top of the furnace and the heated air is released out of the bottom of the furnace.  Most often these type of units are installed in attics to take advantage of the heat being passed downward on the way out of the unit.

What is an upflow furnace?

Well if downflow means that we take the air at the top and output it heated in the bottom then the upflow is just the opposite.  These furnaces are placed in the lowest level of a house to take advantage of the exhaust heat rising through the stack to the outside and heating the house in the process.  With an upflow furnace the cold air is added to the bottom of the furnace and the hot air is exhausted out the top.

What is a horizontal flow furnace?

Well if you got this far then you are likely have your answer.  A horizontal flow furnace is one that takes its air from one side of the furnace and exhausts it out the other side.  Since this design is a lateral move it can be installed anywhere in the house.

Now as far as what type should be used in your house you should definitely get some free estimates from local contractors and see what they think.  You are probably best off going with the same type of unit you already have installed in your house, but they may have a legitimate reason to switch the way that you are heating your house.

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