Although today’s high-tech furnaces can generate heat using a wide array of fuels, natural gas is the most popular. Our professionals here at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling encourage you to learn and understand how your gas furnace operates, so you can spot any potential problems in your Northeast Ohio home’s heating system.

Your thermostat

Although some may argue that your gas furnace begins the heating process when you turn on your HVAC system, the reality is that the thermostat runs the show in most homes.

Your thermostat is a temperature-activated switching device that communicates with your gas furnace’s control board, telling it what your home’s current indoor temperature is. Once you program your thermostat to a target temperature, your heating system will cycle on and off methodically to keep your home close to that set level.

The ignitor

When your thermostat signals your gas furnace to turn on your furnace, the first thing to occur is your ignitor starting. Although many older gas furnaces use a pilot light, modern gas furnaces have a safer, more reliable electronic starter.

An old-fashioned pilot light operates by having a regulator feed a tiny bit of gas to keep a small flame burning, which then ignites the furnace when the thermostat tells it to turn on. Unfortunately, if the pilot light’s flame goes out, you run the risk of a dangerous gas leak in your home.

On the other hand, a modern electronic starter uses an element much like a light bulb’s filament to ignite your furnace’s gas burner instead. When your home reaches your thermostat’s preset temperature, your furnace’s electronic starter sends an electric current over the element, igniting the natural gas.

The combustion chamber

Your furnace’s ignitor lights the gas in the combustion chamber, which is where natural gas and oxygen mix. Your home’s furnace uses a vent system or a draft hood to take in oxygen to produce clean, efficient combustion.

This same venting system releases combustion by-products through a flue to the air outside. Typically, standard flues are made from galvanized steel, while high-efficiency units use polypropylene venting. Both are easy to install and maintain.

It’s vital to regularly maintain the combustion chamber to ensure your indoor air quality remains safe and healthy. Likewise, it’s essential that all of the natural gas inside the combustion chamber is completely consumed. Our Neighbors Who Care Maintenance Program is the ideal way to ensure that your furnace’s combustion chamber continues to operate properly for many years to come!

The heat exchanger

If you look above the combustion chamber, you’ll see the heat exchanger. This simple device utilizes the heat produced by burning natural gas in the chamber to generate non-toxic warm air for your home. A heat exchanger usually consists of a series of metal tubes heated when gas is burned inside the combustion chamber.

These hot tubes transfer radiant heat to the air blown through the exchanger. Once this heated air reaches the target temperature, your gas furnace’s blower motor turns on and blows the air through your home’s air ducts. Cool air then returns to the furnace, and the entire cycle begins again, continuing until your thermostat signals your furnace to turn off.

Some furnaces have a multi-speed blower that’s programmed when your gas furnace is installed. High-efficiency models have a variable-speed blower that can self-adjust fan speeds to suit the current heating need. Some high-efficiency gas furnaces may also contain more than one heat exchanger with curved surfaces, designed to slow down the airflow over more surface area to generate more heat while using less fuel.

It’s crucial to have your heat exchanger inspected annually to ensure it is in good working order because a faulty or cracked exchanger can allow dangerous carbon monoxide gas to leak into your home.

Contact Hey Neighbor for all your furnace needs

Whether you need a new gas furnace, repairs for your existing system, or regular maintenance, turn to Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling for help! Our trained experts provide high-quality service, so you can rest assured that your gas furnace is operating optimally. Call 844-HEY-NEIGHBOR or request service online today!


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