Understanding the Difference Between Upflow and Downflow Furnaces

January 8, 2024
Heating services

Most furnaces in the US are upflow furnaces, as this is the most effective type of furnace. There are also downflow furnaces, but these are typically only found in places with warmer winters or when the layout of the home can’t accommodate an upflow furnace.

Upflow vs. Downflow Furnaces

The only real difference between upflow and downflow furnaces is the direction that the air flows through them. In an upflow furnace, the cool air being brought in by the blower flows into the bottom of the furnace and the heated air flows out of the top. Downflow furnaces work oppositely. Cold air is drawn in through the top of the furnace and the heated air comes out near the bottom.

How to Know Which Type of Furnace Is Best for Your Home

Although upflow and downflow furnaces work in a similar way, each one has its own specific applications. Downflow furnaces are almost always installed in the highest point of the home, usually in the attic. This type of furnace is mostly used in hotter climates in homes that have central air conditioning. In hotter climates, the air handler where the blower is located is typically installed in the attic. As such, the furnace must also be installed in the attic. The reason for installing the air handler in the attic is that it allows the air conditioning system to be far more effective.

In Utah and other colder climates, the majority of homes have an upflow furnace that is almost always installed in the basement or crawl space. An upflow furnace installed at the lowest point in the home will work far more effectively, which is why upflow furnaces are the best option for places with colder winters. When the furnace is on the lowest level, it can draw in more cool air. All of the hot air it produces then rises to heat every level in the home.

There are some homes where an upflow furnace isn’t an option. However, this is really only if the home is built on a concrete slab foundation and there isn’t sufficient room other than in the attic to install the furnace.

Trust the Professionals

If you need a new furnace or your furnace needs to be repaired or serviced, you can count on High Country HVAC for help. We service and repair all makes and models of furnaces as well as heat pumps. We also offer expert air conditioning and indoor air quality services in Centerville and the surrounding areas. Contact us today if you need to schedule a service call or have any questions.

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