A: So, the furnace is one of the three main components of a traditional residential split air conditioning system. The three components would be the condenser outside, your furnace up in the attic, and your evaporator—also in the attic. The furnace is a dual-purpose component, it houses the heating element of the system as well as the blower assembly. On the heating side, you have the gas valve, burners, and the heat exchanger that provides heat during the winter season. The blower assembly is used during the cold months as well as the hot months. The blower is what moves the air whether you’re cooling or heating. So, the furnace is pretty much the heart of the system because it’s used year-round.
How Does A Furnace Work?
A furnace, whether it is a gas or electric model, works pretty much the same in many Houston HVAC systems. In simple terms, the energy source (gas or electricity) warms up the air inside the furnace and then gets distributed throughout the home.
Today, we’re going to focus on the most popular type of furnace—gas. For a gas furnace to do its job properly all of the main components must be in good working order. If even one part is malfunctioning—it can render the entire furnace useless until repaired. There are six components to a typical furnace found in many Houston HVAC systems:
- Thermostat— This is the communications hub for your HVAC unit. It tells your HVAC system when your home is above or below the desired temperature you have set. When your home is colder than you like it, the thermostat signals the furnace to turn on.
- Draft Fan/Hood— This is what draws the air into the burners or heating element, warming the air that will be distributed throughout your home.
- Burners— Gas furnaces use metal tubes that disperse and ignite natural gas, heating up metal tubes within the furnace.
- Heat Exchanger— The heat exchanger is exclusive to gas furnaces and works in tandem with the burners using metal tubes that help heat the air.
- Blower— The blower is what draws air in from the ducts and forces it into the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger warms the air as this is happening and the air is then recirculated to warm the home.
- Flue— This part is very important and if it is not maintained it can cause a serious health hazard within your Houston HVAC system. The flue is a vent that collects the waste created by burning natural gas. Included in this waste is carbon monoxide—a naturally occurring gas byproduct of burning fuel. Carbon monoxide build up in the home can be lethal, so a flue is a critical component since it re-directs the carbon out of the home.
The Furnace Heat Cycle
Now that you have a better understanding of the components found in a gas furnace—let’s look at the process in order. Knowing this information might help you discover a potential problem before it becomes something dangerous.
Thermostat Tells the Furnace to Warm the Home
When your home is colder than the set desired temperature, the thermostat signals the furnace to power on. The thermostat is the first component to troubleshoot when your furnace isn’t working.
The Gas Valve Opens Up
The thermostat sends a low-voltage command that opens the gas valve, allowing gas to travel towards the burners for warming.
Ignition Of Gas
As the gas is directed towards the burner, a pilot light, also known as electronic ignition, lights the burner from inside the combustion chamber. This heats the incoming air that will be distributed through your home via the ducts.
Separating Clear Air From Waste
The air you breathe needs to be clean and healthy, the heater ensures this by removing waste in the air before it’s distributed through your home. The flue captures exhaust fumes and forces it out of the home through a vent that moves it outside.
As the warm air is blown out of the ducts by the blower, the cold air is removed from the home and forced back through the furnace. Essentially, Houston HVAC systems are a closed-loop cooling and heating solution as the cycle repeats itself hundreds of times until the desired temperature is reached.
Got More Questions? Call The Houston HVAC Experts!
At Airteam, we believe that your family’s comfort is very important, but above that is your family’s safety. Maintaining your gas furnace is very important both for efficiency and for safety. Contact us today if your system needs repair or is not functioning properly. Our technicians will diagnose and treat your problem with integrity and accuracy.