A Furnace Is Essential
You might think of a furnace as the “heat source,” while your air conditioner acts like the “coolant.” But there’s more to it than that. Your furnace and air conditioning unit is part of your heating and cooling system called the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC).
When temperatures rise, you’ll switch off your furnace and use an electric coil-driven blower attached to your air conditioner to circulate air throughout your home. This process, known as forced air circulation, helps heat rooms faster and keeps them cooler longer.
However, your air conditioner needs to use the fan inside your furnace to move the air around. As long as your air conditioner runs, it won’t affect how much heat your furnace puts out.
HVAC Systems Regulate Temperature
The heating and cooling systems inside your home help keep it warm during winter and cool during summer. These systems regulate the temperature throughout your house, keeping you comfortable. Your heating and cooling systems work together to ensure everything stays just right.
A heating and cooling system uses heat energy to transfer the warmth into your home. A furnace creates heat by burning natural gas, propane, or oil. An air handler circulates heated air throughout your home and sends cooled air out vents. When you turn on your thermostat, you’re telling your furnace to start circulating air.
An air conditioner works similarly to a heater. It removes heat from your home by blowing cold air over coils outside your home. Like furnaces, air conditioners require electricity, and most run continuously.
Moving Heat Through Air Ducts
In addition to heating and cooling systems, your home also contains many air ducts used to move warm or cool air around your home. Some air ducts lead to the attic, where your roof collects rainwater. Others go directly to your rooms, like those leading to bedrooms. Still, others connect to your walls, allowing you to control the amount of airflow and direction of airflow within your home.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Though it may go unnoticed, having higher air quality greatly improves your day-to-day life at home! Furnaces help reduce pollutants in the air, and some of those pollutants can cause respiratory problems of varying severity. Additionally, if the air in your home feels dry, a furnace can also boost humidity and make the air moister. Even though it’s still pretty hot outside, you can consider hiring someone to install a furnace today to get a head start on filtering out toxic airborne substances in your home — especially if you don’t have an air conditioner. This is only the beginning of the benefits of a furnace!
A Furnace Keeps You Warm
A furnace is essentially the heart of the heating system in your house. A furnace circulates warm air throughout your home to maintain a comfortable temperature.
In addition to keeping you cozy during cold winter, furnaces help prevent damage to your property from extreme temperatures. When it gets too cold outside, your furnace kicks into action and keeps your home warm.
Furnaces come in many different sizes, depending on how much energy you want to use to keep your home nice and comfy. There are three main types of furnaces: natural gas furnaces, propane furnaces, and electric furnaces. Each type offers a unique set of benefits over the others.
A furnace works by heating cold air and blowing it into your home. When the air gets hot enough, it moves out of the room through vents and returns to the outside, where it cools down again. This process uses energy, so furnaces are usually powered by electricity.
The Furnace Heating Process
The furnace starts circulating air throughout the house when it warms up in the spring and fall. As the air gets warmer, it begins moving out of vents around the house. This is called convection. Convection helps distribute heat evenly throughout the house.
In the summer, the air conditioner works hard to cool down the air inside the house. It does this by running fans over coils located near the ceiling. These coils absorb heat energy from the air and transfer it into water. Water turns into vapor, which travels outside the building through ductwork. Fans blow the hot, humid air outside the house.
The compressor shuts off, and the condenser fan stops blowing air. When it’s time to turn off the furnace, it stops circulating air through the home. Once the air is cooled, it moves back through the return registers and returns to the furnace.
AC evaporator coil removes heat from the air and releases it into the room. The air passes over fins covered with aluminum foil. Aluminum absorbs heat energy from the air passing over it and transfers it into water. This process is similar to how the furnace works. A fan blows air across the coils, absorbing heat energy. The heat is transferred into the water, which becomes steam. This steam rises to the top of the unit and escapes through the vent.
A single-stage furnace means the valve supplying the burner(s) with gas only has two settings during operation—on full blast and off. This furnace is used where there is no requirement for precise temperature control. These furnaces are called single-speed since they operate at one speed. They continuously distribute heated air at the furnace’s maximum capability.
A two-stage furnace utilizes a three-position valve, allowing you to control both stages of operation. This type of furnace is typically more expensive than a single-stage furnace because of the added components and complexity required for the system. However, it offers more significant energy savings than a single-stage furnace.
The valve settings are on, partway open, and fully open. When the thermostat calls for heat, the valve opens entirely and allows warm air into the home. As soon as the desired room temperature is reached, the valve closes and prevents cold air from entering the house. If the temperature begins to drop again, the valve automatically reopens.
Variable Speed Furnace
A variable speed furnace is one where the blower speed is adjusted to match the airflow needs of the room. This allows air to move faster in areas with lower temperature requirements, like bedrooms, while moving slower in kitchens where high temperatures are required.
The blower is driven by an electric motor that converts electricity into mechanical power. An electronic controller adjusts the speed of the motor based on the thermostat setting. A programmable thermostat gives you complete control over the heating system, allowing you to set the desired temperature and save money on utility bills.
Furnace By Fuel Types
Regarding furnaces, there are four main types: natural gas, oil, electrical, and propane. Natural gas furnaces tend to use less energy than other types, but they require regular maintenance. Oil furnaces are generally more expensive than other types, but you don’t have to worry about maintaining them. Electric furnaces work well, but they’re usually the most expensive type. Propane furnaces are inexpensive, but they do need frequent maintenance.
Natural Gas Furnace
Natural gas furnaces are usually found in homes where the heating system runs off of propane, oil, electricity, or some combination thereof. A natural gas furnace is typically used to heat the home during cold weather. They’re very efficient and can save you money on energy costs.
With an oil furnace, the beginning point is also the thermostat switch. When the temperature is lower than the temperature you set the thermostat switch at, the system is activated. To heat, the air depends upon an oil tank. The oil is cleaned and changed into a spray, which goes into the burner chamber. As soon as the air that will be discharged into the house at the finish of the procedure gets warmed up as it travels over the hot burner chamber, it becomes heated.
Electric furnaces heat homes and businesses because they use electricity to transfer energy to the interior of the building. They are typically found in commercial buildings like factories, warehouses, schools, hospitals, and office complexes. There are several types of electric furnaces, including radiant tube furnaces, convection furnaces, and forced-air furnaces.
Propane furnaces are great because you don’t need electricity to operate them. They work by burning propane and turning it into a gas. This gas is then blown over a heat exchanger, where the gas turns into hot water. This hot water is then pumped into the house via a blower.
The main problem with propane furnaces is that they require much maintenance. You’ll want to check the filters regularly and clean the burners monthly. If you’re looking for a propane furnace, make sure to do some research. There are many different types of furnaces that use propane. Some are self-contained, while others are built into a wall.
Lower Your Energy Bill
One of the best parts of having a furnace is its energy-efficient. Furnaces, especially when installed correctly, will take considerable money off your energy bill because of how much power they can save while running. If you decide to get a furnace months before you need one, you can work on your seasonal budget well in advance. When installing a furnace, ask the technician to estimate your future energy bills. Saving money, in the long run, is always a good thing!
Get Your Furnace Replaced Now
Your furnace or boiler is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home. Replacing an outdated unit could help you lower utility costs, improve indoor air quality, and save money.
If your furnace or boiler is less than ten years old, replacing it with a newer, more efficient model is probably worth doing. Older units tend to be more extensive, less efficient, and don’t offer many options for customization. They’re also costly, especially compared to models built in recent years.
You’ll want to talk to a professional at Quality Home HVAC about whether the potential savings justify the cost of upgrading. You might find that a smaller, more efficient unit isn’t worth the extra expense, and you’d be better off finding ways to make your existing furnace work harder.
The best way to determine what size unit you need depends on how much space you have inside your home, where you live, and how hot or cold you typically keep your home during the winter. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the square footage of your living area by 0.8 to figure out the cubic feet of volume you need for a single-stage furnace. Multiply that number by 0.6 to calculate the volume needed for a multi-stage furnace.
Once you know the total volume required, divide that by the BTU output rating of the most efficient furnace model you can afford. For example, if you plan to install a 20,000 Btu/hour furnace, you need to buy a unit rated at least 18,000 Btu/hr.
Another critical factor to consider is the type of fuel you use. Most manufacturers recommend installing a furnace that uses either natural gas or propane, although some do allow the installation of oil-fired systems. Some people choose to go with electric heat because it doesn’t produce harmful emissions like those found in traditional combustion methods. However, if you switch to electricity, you’ll need to add a separate electrical outlet near your furnace to run your heater.
You’ll need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see your options if you already have a furnace installed. Many newer models include a remote control panel that allows you to adjust settings remotely. This feature monitors the temperature throughout your home while you’re away and will enable you to turn down the thermostat when you’re sleeping or watching TV.
The furnace or boiler is one of the most essential parts of your home heating system. If it fails, you could freeze or burn up your house. You’ll want to check that everything works properly before winter sets in. Here are some things to do to ensure that your furnace or boiler continues to work well into the future.
Have Your Furnace Inspected
A vent pipe connects your furnace or boiler to the outside air. This pipe must be free of leaks and cracks. A crack in the pipe can allow cold air inside your home. To ensure there aren’t any cracks, look at the connection points where the pipe meets the wall. These connections should be tight and secure. Inspect the entire length of the pipe. Look for loose screws or nails holding the pipes together. Also, look for excessive rust around the joints. Rust indicates corrosion caused by moisture. Corrosion weakens the metal and makes it prone to cracking.
Water seeping into the attic space can cause damage to insulation. If the vents leak, you may notice water dripping onto the floor. Fix any leaks immediately.
Inspect The Heat Exchanger
Your furnace or boiler uses a heat exchanger to transfer heat from hot exhaust gas to incoming combustion air. The heat exchanger is located in the flue ductwork. When the unit runs, exhaust gases pass through the heat exchanger, transferring heat to the incoming combustion air. The efficiency of the heat exchanger depends on how clean the air flowing through it is. Cleaner air improves performance. Dirty air lowers the effectiveness of the heat exchanger, causing the unit to run longer and harder.
To keep the heat exchanger operating efficiently, inspect it regularly. Remove dust and debris on the heat exchanger’s fins to improve airflow. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck out dirt and debris. Change the filter every three months.
Stay Ahead of Winter
It’s best practice to install a furnace well before you need one; you don’t have to worry about getting one at the last minute. Waiting to get a new furnace can be very stressful, as there will be many other people with the same problem. The last thing you want is to be stuck inside an unheated home in the winter, so you should contact a team of experts ASAP. If you’re ready to start your furnace installation, reach out to the team at Quality Home HVAC to get the job done right!