The concept of central heating has been around for thousands of years, in fact it first started with the ancient Egyptians! Since that time many people all over the world have been using central heating technology to warm up their living environment. Currently, nearly all modern homes have some type of central heating system that uses a furnace. The heating unit for a home is extremely important to the homeowner because it keeps your family from freezing during the cold winter months. The following information will describe what a furnace is, how it can best be used and what actions to take if it breaks down.

What is a Furnace?

A furnace is an appliance that can be heated to a very high temperature for the purpose of circulating hot air or water through a home or building. Furnaces are heated by materials such as electricity, gas, or oil. Most furnaces are heated by natural gas. A furnace is usually connected to a series of pipes, ducts, or vents that are laid throughout a structure. These pipes or ducts are necessary for providing either heated water via pipes or warm air into an enclosed environment.

How Does a Furnace Work?

Since most furnaces currently use natural gas as a heating source the standard model for this type of appliance is based on burner technology. When fuel and air are mixed together inside of a furnace, they are then ignited by the burners that are a part of the unit. Once this happens a flame will then energize the unit's heat exchanger.

Keep in mind that a heat exchanger is a series of metal tubes that are designed to stay hot for a long time. Air is taken from an an enclosed environment and then forced across the heat exchanger. A fan system that is connected to the furnace is designed to disperse said heat across the home. As it blows the heated air across the exchanger it is then circulated via the air ducts or vents throughout the building.

The same process occurs for water heaters. The only exception is that the heat exchanger must energize the water in a container before it is circulated through a home's plumbing system. A circulating pump throughout the residential piping is necessary for carrying out this process.

What Problems Typically Happen in a Heating Furnace?

When a furnace breaks down, people no longer have access to heat or hot water that they need. The reason most furnaces break down is because they have not been properly maintained or have a faulty pilot light. Alternatively, another one of the most common malfunctions that a furnace experiences has to do with the filter. A furnace filter is necessary for keeping the unit free from dust, pollen and dirt from being circulated throughout the rooms of a building. Maintenance personnel and homeowners are encouraged to change or clean furnace filters on a regular basis. They should do this according to schedule specified by the manufacturer.

Malfunctioning Pilot Light or Ignition Switch

All furnaces have one of two types of lighting methods. The flame source can either be the traditional pilot light or an electric ignition heating system. If one of these two sources goes out on a furnace unit, it will not function properly. It is strongly recommended for a homeowner to check their pilot light or ignition switch periodically. This is especially true right before the start of the winter season. Furnaces that have a weak flame or pilot light may be prone to malfunction. An HVAC repairman might be needed to correct the problem.

A furnace's belts, motor and bearings must be frequently checked to ensure proper operation. If these parts are not checked by a trained HVAC technician they could easily lead to a unit's malfunction or breakdown. The thermostat should also be checked on periodically, as well as the power source and motor blower. Make sure that the thermostat is both set to “on” and that the temperature has been raised to “heat.”

While a homeowner can perform this type of activity on their own, it is strongly recommended that they use the services of a trained and licensed professional for this purpose. This way people can avoid any errors with trying to light their furnace unit. So for experienced, professional help when it comes to your water heater or furnace, be sure to contact our trained and highly knowledgeable furnace repair contractors.