Understanding Furnace Air Flow Configuration

A strong, well-working furnace is a necessity when it comes to surviving a long cold Minnesota winter in comfort. Yet not all homes are always able to accommodate a standard furnace design–especially if they don’t contain a basement. Fortunately, that problem can be worked around by selecting a furnace with a different air flow configuration. If you would like to learn more about this concept, read on. This article will discuss the two most common furnace air flow configurations.

Upflow Configuration

You can probably guess from its name that a furnace with an upflow configuration is designed to send its heated air out through the furnace’s top side. In fact, the majority of homes implement upflow furnaces. Part of the reason for that is that duct systems are generally built to extend upward from the furnace, which is housed at the bottom level of the home–in other words, the basement.

There is a further distinction that can be made within the realm of upflow furnaces. This has to do primarily with the size of the furnace. Full-size units are commonly known as highboys. These are the standard choice, should there be adequate clearance to fit one inside the basement. For those whose basement has an especially low clearance, it may be necessary to install a lowboy furnace instead. These are simply more squat than highboys; in all other regards, the two varieties operate in much the same way.

Downflow Configuration

Downflow furnaces represent a significant difference in terms of their design. As you can likely deduce, a downflow furnace is designed to deliver its air into the duct system through its bottom side. This is not necessarily a desirable thing since hot air has a natural tendency to rise. But in homes that lack a basement, or whose basement is simply too small to house an upflow furnace, a downflow unit may be the best choice. In this case, the furnace is generally housed in the attic and is integrated into the duct system from above.

For more information about distinctions between different types of furnaces, feel free to contact St. Paul’s experts at Metro Heating and Cooling.