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How to Identify Several Key Components of Your Gas Furnace

Gas Furnace

In simple terms, a gas furnace is an indoor unit designed to circulate warm air (heated within the furnace) or cool air (generally taken from an outdoor unit) throughout a home. A gas furnace contains the following main components: a burner, a heat exchanger, ductwork, and a flue or vent pipe. This article will detail these main components and where they are located within a furnace.

The burner component of a gas furnace is a heating element that warms the gas entering the furnace. Usually located at the bottom of the unit (although occasionally located on the sides), the burner uses a small flame normally ignited with a pilot light. In modern furnaces, pilot lights are ignited automatically, much like an automobile's spark plugs.

Heat exchangers look similar to metal snakes that extend upwards from the burner. This component takes the warm air created below and transfers it to the heat distribution system (duct work). Heat exchangers are crucial to a furnace's functionality as they integrate the heat with the air that’ll be sent throughout the home. When a homeowner has their furnace inspected, it’s important to locate the exchanger and check for any cracks or leaks as these can lead to a furnace running less efficiently.

The ductwork component of a gas furnace is the system that distributes air throughout a home. Beginning at the top of a furnace, ductwork is composed of sheet metal or plastic tubing that extends from the furnace and continues throughout the home, thus bringing air to different locations within a home. Ducts must be inspected and cleaned regularly as a clogged duct can restrict the flow of air. Mold or other contaminants can also build up within ductwork, causing serious safety issues for home occupants.

Flue pipes or vent pipes are a vital component of gas furnaces, as they take the byproducts produced through combustion and expel them from the home. The flue pipe is a larger metal tube that extends out of the furnace and leads to a vent on the exterior of a home. It is important that a flue is installed correctly to ensure that hazardous materials will not escape. Furnace vents should be checked along with a regular furnace inspection.

Gas furnaces are an efficient way to warm and cool a home. It is recommended to be familiar with a unit's main components, as well as inspecting it regularly. This will ensure that a gas furnace is operating safely and adequately, protecting a home's occupants while keeping energy costs low.

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