How Does a Furnace Work?

How Does a Furnace Work?We all rely on furnaces to keep our homes warm, but how they work can be a mystery to most homeowners.

Here is an overview of how the most common types of furnaces work.

What is a Furnace?

A furnace is a heating system that warms air and then distributes it throughout your home. It’s one of the oldest home heating systems still in use today, though modern furnaces are much more advanced than their historical counterparts.

How Does a Furnace Work?

The way that a furnace works depends on what type it is. But most models have the same basic components, including:

  • Thermostat – Activates the furnace and sets the air temperature
  • Gas valve – Opens and closes to control gas flow
  • Burners – Creates heat
  • Heat exchanger – Warms the air
  • Blower – Blows the air through your vent system
  • Air ducts – Releases the warm air into your home

Your furnace may or may not have all of these components based on the fuel that it uses. We’ll look at that more in-depth in the sections below.

Types of Furnaces

Single-Stage Furnace

Single-stage furnaces only have two gas flow settings – on or off. They work at the furnace’s maximum capacity until the desired temperature is reached and then shut off.

Two-Stage Furnace

A two-stage furnace usually runs at about 65% of its maximum capacity. Then, when it gets cold enough, and more heating is needed, it will only use its full power then. This is more efficient than a single-stage furnace.

Variable-speed Furnace

Variable-speed furnaces monitor the temperature of your home and adjust the speed of their blowers to deliver optimal efficiency.

Fuel Used in Furnaces

Furnaces are also categorized based on the fuel they use. Here are the three most common types.

Gas Furnaces (most common in Colorado)

Gas furnaces are by far the most common in Colorado. They tend to have a lifespan of about 15-20 years.

Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces are less common but offer a better lifespan. These typically last between 20 to 30 years.

Oil Burning Furnace

Oil-burning furnaces use oil from a tank to create heat. These can last for upwards of 20 years as long as they’re well-maintained.

Which Should You Get?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on factors like your budget, preferences, and how long you want the furnace you purchase to last.

If you want to maximize lifespan, an electric furnace may be your best option. Or, if you want to be able to choose from the most furnace models possible, a gas furnace could be a better fit.

Similarly, you could pay extra for a variable-speed furnace to save money on energy costs. Or, you could pay less upfront and pick up a single or two-stage furnace but pay slightly more annually in heating costs.

ABE Heating and Cooling Can Help

Whether you’ve already got a furnace and it’s not meeting your needs or you’re ready to purchase a new one but you’re not sure which type would work best in your house, ABE Heating and Cooling is here to help.

We are located in Brighton, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area with professional and cost-effective HVAC services. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.