How A Furnace Works

Gas furnaces have the simple job of keeping your house warm when it is cold outside. In Rock Hill, South Carolina and the surrounding areas, gas heating is common. Natural gas pipelines are available throughout much of the Charlotte metro area, so gas heat is generally a very affordable and efficient way to heat your home. But just how does the natural gas from the pipeline end up as warm air coming out of your vents on a cold winter day? The entire process of how a furnace works is actually fairly simple.

Parts of a Furnace

Furnace cutaway graphic from Panther Heating and Cooling in Rock Hill, SC

Furnaces don’t have a lot of moving parts, but they are still fairly complex appliances. The main parts of a furnace are the draft inducer fan, the ignition system and burner, the heat exchanger and the furnace blower.

Ignition System and Burner

The ignition system includes the gas line to the furnace. When it gets too cold in the house, the thermostat sends a signal to the furnace starting the ignition system. The gas line to the furnace opens and the igniter lights the gas that begins flowing through the burner. The burner is simply a set of tubes where the gas is ignited and burns.

Heat Exchanger

The next step for the furnace is to heat the air that will then be pushed out of your duct system. The heat exchanger is an important part of the furnace, as this is where the heat generated by the burner makes the air hot.  The furnace blower pulls cooler air in through the air return ducts in your home (and air filters) and pushes out the hot air from the heat exchanger so that it travels through your ductwork and out into each room. The draft inducer fan creates airflow that sends waste gases like carbon monoxide up into the flue pipe and out of your home, keeping you safe.

Common Furnace Problems

Heating problems may occur because something has failed in the furnace, parts of the furnace need cleaning and maintenance, a problem with the thermostat or other non-furnace issues.

Common complaints include:

Furnace is Not Heating at all

Possible reasons include:

  • Incorrectly set or broken thermostat
  • Breaker or electrical switch for furnace is turned off
  • Ignition system not working properly
  • Problems with gas flow to the furnace
  • Obstruction in the venting system

Furnace Does Not Produce Enough Heat or Run Long Enough

Possible reasons include:

  • Clogged air filter
  • Poor duct system design makes house warmer near thermostat but too cold in other rooms
  • Dirty burners or burners needing adjustment
  • Dirty Blower Assembley

If you are experiencing any of these problems, it is time to schedule a service visit.

Call us at (803) 327-2700 to schedule your repair. or Request Service Now

Many common furnace problems can be prevented with regular maintenance. So, even if your gas furnace appears to be operating properly, it should still be inspected by a licensed professional to ensure you and your family stay safe and warm all winter.