Furnaces have been around for centuries. They have been providing heat for smelting in workshops, powering locomotive engines, and more recently, being the main source of warmth in our homes. A lot has changed about furnaces over the years. Where we once used coal and wood in the past, electricity and natural gas have now taken over, making furnaces better suited to their primary task: heating homes. This article will answer your question, “How does a furnace work in a house?”
How Does a Furnace Work in a House?
New Furnace Models are Designed for Efficiency
Some have an annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE if you like, of 98 percent. This basically means that they convert 98 percent of the fuel they consume into heat energy. Older models can be less efficient and require more maintenance.
Learning how a furnace works is important, and it can help you make accurate guesses of what may be wrong when your heating system fails. That being said, you should never attempt to perform repairs on any kind of furnace lest you are well versed in HVAC maintenance and repair practices, and are equipped with the right tools for the job. Here is a basic rundown of how furnaces operate.
Forced Air Heating
Furnaces operate on the principle of forced air heating. This is irrespective of whether gas or electricity is used to generate the heat. Air within the furnace is heated in the heat exchanger, then blown into the ventilation ducts of your home by blower fans. Since most heating, cooling, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems share the same network of ducts, it is not necessary to have separate duct work for distributing heat around your home.
The pilot light is what ignites the combustion process in a natural gas furnace. It lights up the series of burners found within the combustion chamber, which creates the heat that is later sent to the heat exchanger where the transfer of heat to air occurs. In the exchanger, the air is heated to the temperature that has been specified by the thermostat. The heated air is then sent to the ducts by blower fans and distributed around the house.
Electric Heating Elements
An electric furnace uses a heating element in lieu of gas burners to heat air. The process begins via an electrical ignition, which causes currents to be passed through the coils of the heating element. The coils then begin to heat the air around them before blower fans send them through the ducts. The thermostat is what dictates how hot the heating element becomes, thus controlling the temperature of the heated air.
So, how does a furnace work in a house? As you can see, the way a furnace operates isn’t exactly rocket science. Be that as it may, you should never attempt to repair a damaged furnace without the appropriate knowledge, training, assistance, or tools. Remember, furnaces have a lot more components than the ones we’ve mentioned above, and the risk of causing harm to yourself or damaging it even further is significant. So, when it comes to fixing or even diagnosing a malfunctioned furnace, it is always better to contact professionals in the HVAC field.