You may not place much emphasis on your home's heating and cooling system, but understanding is key to ensuring it is in proper working condition. A well-maintained furnace is not only necessary for your family's comfort, but also for heating your home in an efficient manner. Unfortunately, you may not be familiar with the working mechanisms of your gas furnace. Using this guide on fascinating and fantastic facts, you will have a better understanding of heating your home with a gas furnace.
Furnaces are the Most Common Heating Method
Although central furnaces are the most common method for heating homes, you may not understand how the system creates and moves heat into your home. The complete furnace system encompasses a burner, metal heat exchanger, and ductwork.
The burner heats air and gas, creating heated air that will flow through the heat exchanger and into the system's ductwork. Located in the ceilings, walls, attic, and crawlspace of your home, this ductwork is necessary for moving conditioned air to and through your home.
Furnaces are Efficient
Natural gas furnaces are a more affordable option for heating your home, but determining the exact savings will depend on your system's AFUE. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, rating will determine how efficient your system is.
A mid-efficiency system has an estimated AFUE of around 80 percent. This rating ensures 80 percent of the gas goes towards heating purposes. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient your system.
High-efficiency gas furnaces that utilize two heat exchangers are also options for your home. These units remove water from the gas before moving the gas through the second heat exchanger. This increases the efficiency of the system, resulting in a 90 to 98.5 AFUE.
Furnace Design Has Come a Long Way
Heating your personal space has always been a necessity, but you may be surprised to learn the origins of today's heating systems.
The first furnace heating system dates back to the 1200s at a city hall in Germany. A three furnace system generated heat through heat chambers connected to rooms. Iron covers were installed over the ducts in the rooms, allowing for temperature regulation. While effective, this early furnace system was not able to heat larger spaces efficiently.
Fortunately, a more sensible furnace was designed for heating around 1821. Dr. Paul Meissner stated that removing cool air while moving hot air into a space was important for reusing the cooled air for reheating. This method of heating is the basis of efficient heating systems today.
Furnaces Have a Long Lifespan
Heating is important for your family's comfort, but a good quality heating and cooling system also plays a role in your home's value. Thankfully, the average lifespan of a modern gas furnace is 20 to 30 years, so you may not need to replace yours just yet. However, here are a few signs that your furnace may need repair or a complete replacement:
- Rising Gas Costs – Without proper maintenance and repairs, your furnace will require more gas to heat your home. If you are having to refuel your gas more frequently, your system may need to be updated.
- Yellow/Flickering Flame – A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that your furnace is creating carbon monoxide. Adjusting or replacing the furnace's burner or air inlet will most likely be necessary. Flames should appear blue and steady, ensuring your gas furnace is working in a safe, non-toxic manner.
- Noisy – Loud banging, popping, rattling, and squealing are common in old furnaces. These noises may stem from the blower motor turning itself off and on automatically or another underlying issue that requires professional repair or replacement.
Heating your home in an efficient, effective manner is important, but proper understanding of your gas furnace is also necessary. Using this guide, you will understand the fascinating nature of your gas furnace. For more information, contact a company like Laroc Refrigeration-Metal Division.