As a homeowner, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about how your furnace works. It will help you understand the dangers of natural gas and carbon monoxide, along with ways to increase efficiency and save money.
A traditional gas furnace is part of the forced air system. When the thermostat detects a drop in temperature below the set temperature, it sends a signal to the furnace to open up the gas valve and ignite a series of burners below the combustion chamber. The heat then circulates through the heat exchanger, which transfers the heat to air.
The combustion gases involved in this process move through a vent that safely exits the house. If the heat exchanger or ventilation system isn’t working properly, dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide could leak out.
From the heat exchanger, the air is blown through the plenum of the furnace and from there gets pushed through the ducts of the house via a the blower fan. In the process, your home heats up. When the thermostat detects that the house has reached its set temperature, it shuts the furnace off.
When problems arise, it’s usually something interfering with the gas line (heat source), or preventing the heat from reaching your ducts (heat distribution). A problem with the ignition or the thermocouple (which regulates the gas) will cause the gas to shut down.
Knowing the basics of how your furnace works will help you pinpoint problems as they arise, allowing you to assess the issue intelligently and point the technician in the right direction.
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