Akams Heating & Plumbing

Akams Heating & Plumbing

Guide to How Furnaces Work

If you ask a lot of homeowners the question of “how do furnaces work” the most common answer might be “they keep me warm”. While that is true, the actual process is a tiny bit more detailed than that. Hopefully your unit will run forever but at a certain time furnace repairs will almost inevitably be needed. In order to both understand the repairs or replacements that the service personnel will make Akams Heating & Plumbing and to get a better idea if something in the system isn’t working right, it’s good to have a general understanding of how the entire furnace system works. Not saying that you need to know how to replace a blower motor if needed, but these basics will enlighten you about just how you stay so cozy at night.

Thermostat Controls When Furnace Kicks In

When you set your thermostat you’re basically setting an alarm for when your furnace kicks in. Once the thermostat recognizes that the temperature in the home has dipped into the designated area the starting gun fires and the heating cycle begins. One of the main needs for Edmonton furnace repair is when a thermostat gets faulty and thus the heating unit is sitting there waiting for directions that never come. In another instance there is a disconnect in the thermostat that is not reading the correct temperature and thus either never cycles or runs all the time driving up utility bills. One of the main reasons for the popularity of programmable thermostats is that people can have a warm house when they come home but automatically have the temperature turned down during the day to keep heating bills somewhat reasonable.

Air Sucked in From the Home

Once the thermostat decides it’s time to go to work, it needs air to begin the process. A fan will then kick in to pull air from outside or in the room to start the combustion airflow. There’s a standing debate among people on where to most efficiently pull the air from. One camp says pulling air from the outside creates an open-loop system that brings in more pure air compared to air from an encapsulated utility room or an unfinished basement. The other side of the fence is the people saying that the outside air is too cold during the winter and you’re making your furnace work that much harder. No matter where the air is drawn from, it undergoes a number of processes that both purify it and get it to the correct temperature. Once the air has reached an adequate flow it starts to get heated.

Gas Valve Opens / Ignitor Engages

A popular area where Edmonton furnace repair is needed is within the gas valve and ignitor. After all, if air isn’t warmed up then it doesn’t do much good in heating the home. Anyway once the ignition fan has drawn an adequate amount of air flow for combustion the gas valve opens just like turning on a stove. The gas flows to the burners where the ignitor creates a constant flame. Many old furnaces are similar to a stove in that they have a pilot light that ignites the gas any time it’s turned on instead of the ignitor. The pilot light often goes out and needs to be lit back up again which is an area for prime DIY furnace repair. In modern furnaces where the ignitor is used, it turns off once a flame is sensed.

Air Blown Over Heat Exchanger Where It Is Supplied to Ducts

After we have ignition, it’s not yet time for lift off. Most burners run for a few seconds up to a minute to ensure that no cold air is forced through the vents and up your blanket. Once the flame gets hot enough the blower motor starts up and pushes the air over to the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger takes the cold out of the air and warms it up so that you can become toasty as the air flows through the duct work. The furnace will either run for a pre-set time or until the thermostat is satisfied. You can force the operation of the furnace by turning the temperature up on the thermostat but puts a lot of wear and tear on the system going up and down repeatedly.

Gas Valve Turns Off and Blower Motor Cools Off Heat Exchanger

Once the thermostat senses the room temperature to be up to par, it begins the shutdown process. The gas valve shuts off so that the furnace no more has any fuel. The blower motor remains in motion for a few beats as it works to cool down the heat exchanger that has performed a lot of the work in the preceding heating process. Heat exchangers have a tendency to require Edmonton furnace repair, especially in extreme cold just because of the constant duress they’re under. Once the heat exchanger reaches the temperature set on its switch or the blower runs for a set period of time the furnace shuts down and sits in wait for the next chilly call to action.

You’re not necessarily ready to become a journeyman in Edmonton furnace repair but understanding the most basic ins and outs of how your furnace works has no drawbacks. In fact, you’ll be able to do your own amateur diagnostics if you follow the process, for instance a furnace kicking in but sending out cold air which could be a bad heat exchanger of a running sound even after the furnace shuts down which could mean your blower motor stays running. As a famous cartoon soldier once said, “knowing is half the battle.”

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