Furnaces come in a variety of styles separated by many different factors. One of these factors is the direction in which the air flows when pushed out of the heating system. An upflow style furnace has the air pointed upwards from below your house. This type of unit has a couple of clear advantages over a downflow unit, which is mounted in the attic.
Here are some of the pros and cons of an upflow style furnace.
Pro: Natural Energy Savings
Hot air naturally rises due to having a lighter mass than cold air. This process, which is called convection, works in favor of an upflow system. The furnace can output less heated air at a lower force and still make your indoor living space comfortable. An upflow system won't have to run for as long or as often as other types of systems, which can save you in energy costs.
The alternative downflow system has to fight against convection and try to push the warmed air down through the colder air. You will therefore need to run the furnace longer, and the furnace will need to push the air harder, to even have a chance of achieving the same amount of heating as the upflow furnace.
Pro: Convenient Installation
An upflow unit installs in your basement and can sit directly on the floor since basement foundations are meant to hold quite a bit of weight. A downflow furnace, often installed in an attic, requires additional bracing built to support its weight that can become expensive.
The unit won't be in your way, and you can still easily access the furnace for maintenance or any potential repairs. Your basement also stays relatively cool, again due to convection, which can help protect the furnace from overheating or any humidity-related moisture damage.
Con: Not Convenient if You Lack a Basement
The entire point of an upflow system is that the heated air needs to rise up from below you. If your home lacks a basement, your furnace would need to be installed in an interior room or the attic. Neither of these setups would allow for the natural convection benefits of the upflow furnace.
Note that installing a downflow system is a perfectly reasonable choice in houses that lack the room for an upflow system. You will still receive a comfortable heating experience even with the potential for slightly higher energy costs.
Still have questions? Contact your furnace repair services technician for more information.