Furnace Product Options
Today's consumers have a wide variety of furnace product options available to them. Let's discuss the evolution of modern furnaces to help you understand the many choices that are available.
Most houses and businesses in the United States rely on central heating to provide heat, and a furnace is the core component of those systems. The way that central or force air heating systems work is that the furnace blows heated air through ducts, which deliver warmth to the rooms in your home or business. The air enters the rooms through heat registers, sometimes called grills.
There are a wide range of product options when deciding the type of furnace that can supply heat to this force-air system, including furnaces that are fueled by electricity, natural gas, or fuel oil.
Natural gas furnaces are the most common product options in use today, followed by electric furnaces. Fuel oil is more common in European countries than in the United States.
Inside a gas furnace, the fuel is mixed with air and burned. The burning gas heats a metal heat exchanger which in turn heats air that is pushed through the heat exchanger by the furnace fan and then forced through the duct-work in your home or business.
The furnace vents combustion products out of the building through a flue pipe. Older furnaces directly vented these products to the outside. Because the exhaust had to remain hot enough to safely lift the gases outside the building, these older furnaces spent as much as a third of their fuel energy for this purpose.
Many of today's modern minimum-efficiency furnaces reduce waste by using an inducer fan, which pulls exhaust gases through the heat exchanger by inducing a draft in the chimney. This method increases the fuel efficiency of these modern furnaces substantially.
Extremely high-efficiency furnaces are “condensing” furnaces, which reclaim escaping heat by rapidly cooling the exhaust gases. A second heat exchanger captures the additional heat as the water vapor in the exhaust condenses to into water.
No matter what type of furnace you choose, they are all regulated by a heating system control known as a thermostat. Thermostats also come in a wide range of product options, and many can be programmed to maximize the efficiency of your forced air system.