What Is a Gravity Furnace?
If you live in a newer or recently modernized home, there is a good chance you don’t know or have never heard of gravity furnaces before. This type of furnace was popular in the late nineteenth century and continued to be used in commercial and residential settings up until the mid-twentieth century. However, many older homes and buildings across LA still have gravity furnaces.
Gravity furnaces, as their name suggests, rely on gravity to operate. Unlike modern central heating systems, they do not use blowers to move air throughout a home. Instead, they rely on the principle of heat rising. Consequently, they are typically installed in basements or at the lowest point of a home.
If your home or building has a gravity furnace, you may wonder if it is safe, how to repair it when there’s a problem, and whether you should plan to replace it. Below we answer these frequently asked questions and more.
Review our blog for more information on gravity furnaces.
Are Gravity Furnaces Safe?
Yes, gravity furnaces are safe. In fact, when they are well-maintained, they are just as safe as modern furnaces. However, many gravity furnaces contain asbestos. When undisturbed, this asbestos does not pose a risk. However, damaged systems or those in which asbestos is exposed can be a serious health risk. As such, many people have been working to replace their gravity furnaces.
Reasons to Consider Replacing a Gravity Furnace
As mentioned above, many gravity furnaces contain asbestos. This is the primary reason to consider replacing yours with a modern, forced air heater. Additionally, gravity furnaces are not considered environmentally friendly as they require the burning of fuel to operate. Many of them burn coal, a fuel that is notoriously bad for the environment.
Some more reasons to consider replacing your gravity furnace include the following:
- Gravity furnaces are slower at heating and can be particularly bad at heating very large homes or buildings
- They frequently do not provide event, reliable heating
- They can be costly to run and repair
- They may have a negative impact on your home’s indoor air quality
- They frequently suffer significant heating loss
Gravity furnaces can also deter potential home buyers from purchasing your property as well. Because most people are unfamiliar with them, they may be hesitant to buy a property with one, fearing the need to replace them and/or chronic repair issues.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Gravity Furnace?
Replacing a gravity furnace with a modern, forced air system is a big investment. A new furnace alone will cost you, on average, $5,000 (if not more). Then you will have to replace all your ductwork, too. Ductwork replacements can also cost around $5,000, depending on how large your home is and the job’s difficulty. A full conversion will likely cost you at least $10,000, if not more.
Benefits of converting your gravity furnace to forced air:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Reduced monthly heating costs
- Less heating loss throughout your home
- Improved indoor air quality
- Better temperature regulation throughout your home
- Makes your home more attractive to potential buyers
At H. L. Moe., Inc., we understand that converting a gravity furnace to forced air heating is a major investment, and it is one that not everyone is ready for. As one of the few gravity furnace specialists in Los Angeles, we can help you keep your existing gravity furnace in good condition until you are ready to replace it. We can also help you plan for your replacement, guiding you in selecting the new furnace that best suits your needs and budget.
Do you still have a gravity furnace? Call H. L. Moe Co., Inc for help with all your gravity furnace needs, including repair and replacement.