Learning the Basics of Your Furnace
Your furnace is an integral component of your home’s HVAC system, and without it you wouldn’t be able to heat your home. It plays a significant role in ensuring your comfort, and so it’s good to have a basic understanding of how it works.
To have a simple knowledge of furnaces means that you’ll be able to maintain yours well, be more aware of any issues that may arise and the best course of action, and how to shop for the most suitable furnace for your home.
Here’s a quick guide to help you better understand your furnace.
What Does a Furnace Do?
The function of a furnace is to heat air and distribute it to all desired areas of your home through the air ducts. The thermostat controls your furnace—when you increase the temperature on your thermostat, it triggers your furnace to begin heating air.
The process of heating air occurs as the gas valve inside the furnace opens and ignites the burner. The flames generated by the burner then act to heat a metal component called the heat exchanger. The heat which has been produced in this way then circulates through the heat exchanger where it is converted from heat to air. The blower motor and fan are responsible for the final step in the process; the distribution of the heated air through the air vents in your home.
Types of Furnace
The four main furnaces are electric, propane, natural gas, and oil.
Electric furnaces are typically the cheapest to buy, the easiest to install, and can last significantly longer than other types of furnace. However, the money saved in the purchase of the furnace can soon be lost in monthly electricity bills.
Propane furnaces are a good option where other fuels are expensive or scarce. They’re also particularly useful in more rural areas that aren’t as well connected to the grid. This is because the burner in a propane furnace doesn’t rely on electricity, so can’t be affected by disruptions to power.
Natural gas furnaces are the most economical choice and are used by a majority of American homes. Natural gas is the cheapest fuel, and new gas furnaces can be up to 98% efficient.
Oil furnaces are slightly less efficient than gas furnaces, though they can still achieve between 80 and 90% efficiency. They’re also cheaper to initially purchase than a gas furnace.
It’s important to have the right size furnace for your home, and this is calculated by the size of your home, the height of the ceilings, the number of windows, and the local surrounding climate. It’s best to have a professional determine this for you.
The heating seasonal performance factor rating (HSPF) is a measure of the efficiency of a heat pump system, and the higher the number the more efficient the system. Additionally, the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating must be at the very minimum 80%, with the most efficient systems reaching around 97%. It’s good to take these figures into account when shopping for your new furnace.
If you’re experiencing any problems with your furnace or would like a new one, don’t hesitate to give us a call here at Acker Heating & Cooling.