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furnace troubles?

In 2020, Calgary experienced its coldest day since 2012. Temperatures dropped to -30.9 degrees Celsius at midnight, with a wind-chill of below 40. As for our upcoming winter, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a stormy winter. While abnormally low temperatures are not currently predicted, who knows what will happen in Calgary’s winter season. 

Needless to say, we need to prepare ourselves for another cold winter. Hence, it’s time to access your furnace needs.

How Furnaces Work

According to Black Past, Alice H. Parker is credited with inventing the furnace. On December 23, 1919, the African American woman’s design was patented. Although the concept of central heating was not Parker’s idea, her design was revolutionary because of the use of natural gas rather than coal or wood. Her blueprints show the furnace drawing in cool air then warming the air with a heat exchanger, which delivered warm air through ducts to different rooms within the building. 

Ultimately, her initial designs were not used. However, her idea of natural gas and ducts played a big part in our modern heating systems.

Furnaces essentially heat cooler air. Firstly, the propane, natural gas, or electric coils heat up within the furnace. Secondly, the heat that is produced passes through a heat exchanger. A heat exchanger allows heat from a liquid or a gas to pass to a second fluid (another liquid or gas) without the two fluids having to come into contact or mix together. Therefore, the next step is simple. Air from the home is blown over the heat exchanger, making it warm. Lastly, the furnace’s blower forces the nice warm air into the ductwork and gets distributed through the home. 

Different Types of Furnaces

electric, gas and propane

There are a few different types of furnaces that MacLeod’s Plumbing and Heating offers and is familiar with. The type of heating system that will work best for your home depends on your budget and available energy sources. However, there is no need to worry as our team is always here to answer any questions you may have!


One of the best things about electricity is that the source of energy is readily available. Not only are the newer models more efficient, but also they are easier to install. Also, they are great for safety as homeowners do not have to worry about gas leaks or fumes. They are cheaper to install than gas options, easier to maintain, quieter, and long-lasting. However, as for cons, they often have higher fuel costs in lower climates depending on the cost of electricity versus gas. 

Natural Gas

Natural gas furnaces have plenty of upsides. Gas heats up very quickly, meaning that you won’t have to wait for a long time for your home to warm up. The fuel costs are not very high and it has good heat efficiency. More upkeep and maintenance are necessary, but with proper care, your gas furnace can last for roughly 20 years. Downsides include a more expensive installation than with electric furnaces, increased risk of carbon monoxide leaks, and more noise while running.


With propane furnaces, the tank needs to be full to run. A big upside to propane furnaces is their versatility. If necessary, they can use natural gas as an alternative in case there is a propane shortage. Furthermore, propane heats very quickly and burns clean. They last a long time, require few repairs, and operate efficiently. However, if you do not already have propane, switching to a propane heating system can be expensive. Also, they do require regular inspections to ensure there are no leaks or corrosion. 


Homeowners with modulating furnaces have the luxury of adjusting the heat of their home at any time. This system takes into account the temperature of your home and can increase or decrease temperatures by 1%. Therefore, modulating furnaces are efficient and run on-demand which can save money. 


While not as efficient as a modulating furnace, the two-stage furnace will give more options than a single-stager. Homeowners are able to choose between full power or low/half power. On the colder Calgary days, a two-stage furnace can automatically open up the valve to full power.


As hinted to in the name, single-stage furnaces feature a single gas valve. The valve can open or close to direct the flow of gas. Although this type of furnace is noisy and runs at one option, minimal furnace repair is required. Furthermore, single-stage furnaces are not expensive to install and it’s very durable. One of the bigger drawbacks is that the single-stage furnace does not offer much savings. 

 Life Expectancy and Care

Your furnace can last a very long time– 15 to 25+ years! However, to ensure a long-lasting heating system, we recommend routine maintenance and inspection. However, there are more aspects to consider as well.

If your furnace is too small for your home, it will become overworked. In turn, the system may suffer from wear and tear. Moreover, a furnace that is too large for your home will suffer from shorter cycles and turn off and on more than necessary. 

The quality of installation is very telling of how your furnace will run. MacLeod’s Plumbing and Heating is certified to repair and install all brands of furnaces, so you can relax knowing that our team is qualified with great experience. You will not have to worry about poorly installed fuel lines, faulty drainage systems, or improperly sealed ductwork. We can install your furnace perfectly, and then come back to change your filters later!

Lastly, setting your thermostat to proper temperatures is important– especially if Calgarians are set to see more -30 degree days. Furnaces can help prevent your pipes from freezing, so you’ll want to keep your thermostat set to at least 15 degrees Celsius. If you have your temperature set higher than 26 degrees, your furnace can fail prematurely, short circuit, or shut down. 

If you find that your utility bill is higher than normal, your house isn’t heating up quickly or at all, your furnace is old, or your house is dusty and has an odour, it may be time to call us


With winter coming, now is a great time to access your furnace needs. Whether you are due for a replacement, repairs, or a simple inspection, our team has the experience and tools for the job. There are different types of furnaces to choose from, so your home can get a perfect system. Proper care and maintenance are vital for your furnace’s life expectancy. And, so is hiring a competent and hard-working company for all your installation and repair needs!

However, if you are unsure if your furnace needs a good cleaning or if you need a replacement, you can call us as well. We will assess the situation for you. Let us help you make sure your family and your home are warm for the upcoming winter.

Contact us today!

MacLeod’s Services

We are always ready to help out a homeowner in need with our 24/7 emergency repairs. While we have a wide variety of services, we offer incredible furnace replacements and repairs. Our high-efficiency furnaces can save you money, last for a long time, and remove moisture within the heat exchanger. We can help you and your family breathe healthier air with better filtration systems!

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