We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Resistance Furnace?

By N.M. Shanley
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A resistance furnace generates hot air that is used to heat a home. A blower inside one creates airflow using electricity. The air is then circulated through heating elements inside the furnace. When the air is heated, it is sent throughout the building using various ducts.

No combustion takes place inside a resistance furnace, also known as an electric resistance furnace. As a result, a flue is not needed for this type of heating system. Generally, these models cost less to maintain than oil or gas furnaces. Since they run on electricity, their normal operating costs are usually higher than combustion furnaces.

In most homes, heating furnaces are usually attached to a thermostat. The thermostat is connected to relays inside the furnace. These relays turn the heating elements on when more heat is needed.

The thermostat and relay connection enable the resistance furnace to turn on and off automatically, depending on the temperature inside the home. An air circulation switch located either on a thermostat in the house, or on the furnace itself, also allows the homeowner run the blower continuously. This will keep hot air circulating constantly throughout the home.

While maintenance costs are low compared to other heating system costs, some minor maintenance may be needed to keep a resistance furnace running efficiently. These types have air filters that must be cleaned occasionally to keep them from becoming clogged. A clogged air filter may slow or shut down the airflow.

The furnace typically has a main circuit breaker located near it or in the home’s main electrical service panel. Homeowners should ensure that this main breaker is turned off before any repairs are performed on the furnace. Turning the breaker off will help prevent shock or other injuries during such routine work.

The elements inside the furnace also have individual circuit breakers to avoid overloads. If the heater is not working, the breakers may need to be reset. When the heat is on, but insufficient, the elements themselves may need to be replaced. Generally, only a professional technician should work on the heating elements.

A resistance furnace can also be used in conjunction with a heat pump to heat a home. The heat pump will work alone until the temperature drops below a certain level. At that point, the furnace will turn on and work with the heat pump to keep the home heated to a comfortable level. The homeowner determines this level using the thermostat settings.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By golf07 — On Sep 20, 2011

I don't know what it is, but it seems like my furnace can be working fine all winter and when I am ready to turn it on in the fall, something needs to be repaired.

We have a natural gas furnace in our house that we have had serviced the last two years. I am glad that it has been something minor such as cleaning the burners.

Maintaining my furnace and paying for the service calls is much cheaper than buying a new furnace.

By andee — On Sep 20, 2011

I have learned the hard way to have my furnace serviced before the weather turns cold. It seems like I try to put off starting my furnace as long as possible.

The worst part about this is if something isn't working properly and I have to wait longer to get a service man there.

This has happened to me more than once and when I finally call for service, many other people have done the same thing.

Now I make it a habit to have furnace maintenance done every fall. That way I know when the weather turns colder and I want a warm house, my furnace will be working properly.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.