American homes must feature an air conditioner and a furnace to ensure that conditions indoors are comfortable for the occupants. The extremes of any season can be unbearable without the use of a proper system. However, to install these elements in the home means you must identify an area that supports the system while occupying as little space as possible. Designing or remodeling a home forces you to think out of the box to accommodate the installation of a gas furnace. Most homeowners opt to install the gas furnace in the attic since it appears to save enormous amounts of space.
However, there’s a fair bit of advantages and disadvantages to placing a furnace in the attic. We’ll take you through these so you can identify if it’s a solution that you want to embrace or not.
Pros of a Furnace in the Attic
In modern architecture, space is at a premium. HVAC components today feature several elements where some parts of the unit may reside on the exterior, with the rest featuring indoors. Previously, homeowners would sacrifice closet space for the furnace to ensure everyone kept warm during the winter. However, contemporary lifestyle changes and growing families require every inch of space in the building, highlighting the need for installation in the attic. Placing the gas furnace in this area of the house means it can operate as usual without occupying much space, which appears to be a win-win for homeowners.
Installing the gas furnace in the attic saves you money on the initial setup. Since the HVAC system serves multiple purposes, such as heating and cooling, installing the components in the home’s attic is far cheaper. Consequently, the HVAC professional can access the system through the roof for routine inspections, necessary repairs, and maintenance. This method may be your only option from a pure cost perspective since venting the furnace is more manageable from this section of the house.
Without a crawl space or basement, it can be tricky placing a furnace around the ground floor. When the furnace is in the attic, its downflow design means that this type of installation can work for any house with a loft. Because of the location, you’re forcing the warm air downward, which means there’s no wastage of temperature.
The furnace in the attic cost profile is highly competitive. The average you can expect to pay for the acquisition and installation of the equipment is around $2,000. However, the setup costs can increase by 50 percent if the location is difficult. With this knowledge, you can select a high-quality furnace that will meet your needs instead of sacrificing the quality of the product to save on installation costs.
The attic of your home allows you to install almost any type of equipment confidently safely. You might think that a gas furnace carries a different risk level, but you can ensure proper venting and alarm systems are in place to mitigate that risk.
Cons of a Furnace in the Attic
You’re now aware of the positives of installing a gas furnace in the attic, but what about the negatives? Placing this equipment in an attic will reduce the efficiency of the system. Since warm air rises and cold air sinks, it would be ideal for the furnace to be in the basement. As the cold air passes through the furnace, it becomes warm and filters through the home going upward. However, when it’s in the attic, you require specific infrastructure to ensure the air is pushed down into the house leading to higher energy costs and up to 35 percent less efficiency.
You can lose up to 30 percent of treated air as it moves within the ducts. Poorly connected vents, leaks, and holes are responsible for eating into the furnace’s efficiency. Because the furnace is already at your home’s highest point, the hot air also reaches its maximum height. It translates to heating the immediate space without benefitting from the furnace. Since the furnace operates longer to accommodate the displacement, it will lead to higher energy bills.
Placing the furnace in the attic can lead to neglect on the owner’s part. The majority of homeowners operate on an out-of-sight-out-of-mind principle which means the furnace receives little to no attention until it’s too late, and the problem has become a costly one. Some issues, such as a clogged condensate drain, become known through visual inspection, and if you’re not constantly checking your furnace in the attic, you won’t be aware of the issues.
Unfortunately, installing a furnace in the attic comes with additional setup requirements. This equipment can’t go directly on carpet or tile. Furthermore, there can’t be combustible materials present apart from the wooden joists that offer the structure support.
In weighing up the pros and cons of installing a furnace in the attic, it’s evident that it’s not a great idea. In addition to causing damage to the unit, you risk decreasing the efficiency and consuming more energy. Seek assistance from a reputable HVAC company to determine if the attic is the best place for your gas furnace.