How much do you know about the machine that’s figuratively going to keep you alive and warm in the chilly winters? If not enough, you need to STOP doing anything right now and just read this. We have listed down some great furnace facts that every homeowner must know.
Facts about the winter machine – Furnace
1. Furnace is the most common heating system in the United States
Most of the homes in the country use furnace as a central heating system that works through several wall, ceiling and floor ducts. Although a furnace maybe powered by oil, natural gas or electricity, gas furnaces are most common at present due to increased energy efficiency. Today in the United States, 60% houses are heated by gas furnaces.
2. Furnaces were invented by Romans
Built in early 1200 B.C., the earliest forms of furnaces were used for central heating only. Also, they were almost forgotten and replaced by fireplaces for about 1000 years after the fall of Roman Empire. But since past few centuries, furnaces have been widely used for industrial purposes especially in the field of metallurgy.
3. Furnaces last for a very long time
And that’s probably why lots of people don’t know much about the furnace installed in their homes. Furnaces last as long as 40 years. The lifespan depends on the furnace efficiency. For example, medium-efficiency ones last for about 18-25 years whereas high-efficiency ones last for a bit shorter time of about 15-20 years. The lifespan also depends on how well the system is maintained and how the furnace was installed.
4. There are only three parts that do actual ‘heating’
It’s the burner – that produces heat, heat exchanger – that separates breathable air from the rest and the blower – that circulates the breathable air all around the air ducts. But it doesn’t mean that other components like air filter, pilot light, gas control valve, and an external thermostat are less necessary. It just means that a furnace typically is composed of three components.
5. Installations are regulated by government
The installation of a furnace is regulated both by local and national government. It’s because furnaces can turn to be safety hazards by igniting a massive fire or even indirectly causing deaths of people due to their abrupt failure.
6. Propane and natural gas are two most common types of fuels for gas furnaces
As mentioned previously, gas furnaces are most commonly used types of furnace. A gas furnace runs on either propane or natural gas. Propane is mostly used in rural areas where gas pipelines aren’t laid yet. The supply of propane is done via trucks whereas natural gas is provided through gas pipelines. Natural gas is cheaper than propane as it produces more heat with the utilization of less fuel as compared to a propane powered furnace.
7. Types of gas furnaces
There are typically five types of gas furnaces – horizontal gas furnace, package gas furnace (an all-in-one gas furnace that also comes with an air conditioner), upflow gas furnace (the airflow enters from bottom, and hot air comes out of the top), downflow gas furnace (the opposite of upflow gas furnace), and lowboy gas furnace (furnaces designed for congested areas).
8. Working of a gas furnace
Obviously, the working of different types of the furnace is different but here’s how the most commonly used furnace works.
Let’s talk about the three components we talked of in point 4. The fuel is burned, and the combustion process produces heat. The first element – burner is utilized in this first step. In the second phase, the heat exchanger is used which is responsible for getting cool air from the air vents and exchanging it with hot breathable air. The blowers further push the air into the ducts.
9. Know about what’s covered in the furnace policy
Did you read the fine print while purchasing a furnace? Many homeowners believe that their manufacturer covers failure of any piece in the furnace but in actual, only the inexpensive and not so critical components are covered. The most expensive ones like a heat exchanger is usually not covered. Just wanted to save you from the shock!
10. Furnace installation is more crucial than the furnace itself
No matter what efficiency rate or company you choose while buying a new furnace, if you fail to have a trained professional install a furnace in a perfect manner, it would last for a much shorter time and also give you a lot of trouble over the course of next few years (until it finally says goodbye to you).
11. Common furnace repair issues
What are the most common furnace repair issues you’re likely to come across? We just wrote a blog post about it, and they can include things like weird noises from the furnace, decrease in efficiency, improper heating, infrequent cycling, no heating at all and many more issues like that.
12. Your British friend may not understand what’s a furnace is
Well, it’s a wrong statement. The fact is that in Britain, people still consider furnace as equipment used in industries for smelting ore whereas, in America, the furnace is a home heating system.
13. Furnace efficiency decreases with lack of maintenance
Have you ever wondered why your bill suddenly shoots up in a particular winter month? It is very likely due to a furnace on which proper maintenance wasn’t performed.
Those are some furnace facts that you must know. Some were technical, and some were added just for fun (apparently, the 12th point was added for that purpose only). We write much more blog posts on furnace repair, how to improve furnace efficiency, common furnace repair issues and how to fix them, and how to find a professional for repair. You can find all the blog posts here.
You can also locate furnace repair specialists near you by using our unique Uber-like technology that we have developed to help you find same day service providers near you. You can see which people are working near your home and have them inspect your house in much less time than otherwise. Doesn’t that sound great? If it does, check out this page on how it works.