Non-Condensing vs Condensing Furnaces: What’s the Difference?

Furnaces are one of the most common types of central heating systems. They consist of a heating element that, when activated, produces warm air. Some furnaces are powered by gas, whereas others are powered by electricity. Regardless, they’ll consume gas or electricity to create heat. A fan will then push air over the activated heating element. Furnaces, however, are available in different types, including non-condensing and condensing.

What Is a Non-Condensing Furnace?

A non-condensing furnace is a type of gas furnace with a single heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is part of the furnace’s overall heating element. During use, gas furnaces will burn gas inside of a closed system known as a combustion chamber. The heating element sits next to this combustion chamber. As the combustion chamber heats up, the newly generated thermal energy will be transferred to the heat exchanger. All non-condensing furnaces have a single heat exchanger.

What Is a Condensing Furnace?

A condensing furnace is a type of gas furnace with two heat exchangers. Gas furnaces are considered non-condensing or condensing depending on how many heat exchangers they have. Non-condensing furnaces have a single heat exchanger. Condensing furnaces, on the other hand, have two heat exchangers.

The heat exchangers in condensing furnaces are used for the same purpose as those in non-condensing furnaces: They absorb heat from the furnace’s combustion chamber. There are simply two heat exchangers in condensing furnaces rather than just one.

Differences Between Non-Condensing and Condensing Furnaces

Condensing furnaces are more efficient than non-condensing furnaces. With two heat exchangers, they’ll absorb more heat from the furnace’s combustion chamber. Non-condensing and condensing furnaces may burn the same amount of gas. With a condensing furnace, though, more heat will be transferred from the combustion chamber to the heat exchangers, resulting in a higher level of efficiency.

Non-condensing furnaces are typically less expensive. If you’re on a budget, you may want to choose a non-condensing furnace. They feature a simpler design than condensing furnaces that manifests in the form of a lower price. You’ll save money by choosing a non-condensing furnace.

Non-condensing furnaces are also easier to install. Condensing furnaces generally produce more condensation, so they must be installed with a proper drainage system. Non-condensing furnaces produce less condensation, making them easier to install. There are ventilation considerations associated with condensing furnaces as well. Contact a professional heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) company today to learn more about condensing and non-condensing furnaces.