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How Does a Furnace Work?

Posted: December 19, 2022

A Furnace Distributes Warm Air Through Your Home

Today’s energy-efficient furnaces offer Delaware Valley homeowners a great opportunity to increase their comfort while decreasing their energy usage. New furnaces can now heat a home using significantly less energy compared to older-generation equipment.

Knowing more about how your furnace works will help you to make smart choices if you’re considering replacing your old heating system with a new, high-efficiency model. And if you’re having a heating problem, knowing more about how your furnace works will be helpful when you discuss the issue with our service technician.

Understanding Your Furnace

Furnaces can be powered by either fuel oil, propane gas, natural gas or electricity. Also known as warm-air or forced-air systems, furnaces produce heated air in the combustion chamber.

  • Inside a gas- or oil-fired furnace, the fuel is mixed with air and burned.
  • The heat exchanger transfers the heat to the air, which is pushed through the heat exchanger by the furnace’s blower fan.
  • The fan blows the heated air through a network of air ducts before the warm air exits through registers or vents throughout your home.
  • Combustion gases are vented out of the building through a flue pipe.

The Advantage of Having a Furnace

Besides heat, the ductwork that connects with your furnace can provide other kinds of conditioned air, including through:

  • a central air conditioning system
  • a whole-house humidifier
  • an air cleaning system or air purifier

Differences Between Old Furnaces and New Furnaces

  • Older furnaces vent exhaust gases directly to the outside, but this wastes about 30% of the heat energy because the exhaust gases need to remain hot enough to rise through the chimney safely.
  • Modern furnaces use an insulated flue pipe instead of a barometric damper. This improves venting and reduces heat loss.
  • Modern-day furnaces can operate at a range of speeds and feature other efficiency-enhancing features including microprocessor-based controls, high-pressure flame-retention burners and durable heat exchangers.

Advanced technology has also brought us the ultra-efficient condensing furnace, which recovers and uses some of the lost heat from waste gases, thanks to a secondary heat exchanger.

Replacing Your Old Furnace

As noted, today’s high-efficiency furnaces provide extra heat more efficiently than units made a generation ago. Higher efficiency means more energy savings, which of course translates into lower energy costs. This is why it pays to learn as much as you can about today’s high-tech heating solutions—and Wilson Oil and Propane is here to help you, with all of the latest information on high-efficiency oil and gas furnaces, including equipment made by leading American manufacturers.

Every furnace we install is covered by a substantial manufacturer’s warranty, and Wilson Oil and Propane stands behind its installation work with a 100%-satisfaction guarantee. Contact Wilson today and one of our highly trained experts will be happy to give you a free estimate.

Wilson Oil and Propane designs, installs, and services furnaces throughout the Delaware Valley, including the towns of Media, Wallingford, Swarthmore, Springfield, Broomall, and Newtown Square. We will be glad to have a no-pressure phone conversation with you so you can understand more about our efficient, affordable furnace options.

Read more about a new furnace installation.