How Does a Furnace Work?

How Does a Furnace Work?

November 9, 2017

Most homes across the country depend on a furnace for heat in the winter. But have you ever wondered exactly how they work? Understanding how furnaces in Altoona, PA operate is part of being a good homeowner, and it can also help you diagnose a problem when your furnace stops working.

Furnaces are divided into two categories: gas and electric. Both types have benefits and pitfalls, and they both essentially work the same way. Your furnace forces hot air through ducts and out vents inside your home. Gas furnaces use a pilot light to ignite burners in the combustion chamber. That heat is stored inside the unit until you turn on the furnace to the desired temperature, at which point the heat is released. An electric furnace has an ignition switch and heating elements that warm up when you flip the switch on your thermostat to “heat.” Once all of the elements warm up, your furnace will blow that nice hot air throughout your home.

Common furnace problems

Regardless of which type of furnace you have, it can run into some rather frustrating issues that cause your home to be uncomfortably cold in the late fall and winter. Here are a few of the most common furnace problems:

  • Dirty filter: Your furnace’s air filters are crucial in keeping the system operating efficiently and producing the right amount of heat for your home. They also get dirty pretty easily from dust and debris in the air. Change your filters every month to guarantee your furnace is able to work to the best of its ability.
  • Cracked ductwork: As your ducts age, they can crack and start to fall apart. Cracks in your ductwork make it difficult (if not impossible) for your furnace to heat your home. Have a professional inspect your ductwork this year to ensure everything looks normal.
  • Furnace won’t light: Trouble with the pilot light is one of the more common problems with gas furnaces in Altoona, PA. The thermocouple, which controls the flow of gas from the gas valve, can clog up. When that happens, the pilot light won’t come on and your furnace won’t provide heat.

Troubleshooting tips

We always appreciate your calls for furnace repair in Altoona, PA. But there are a few things you can check beforehand to ensure that your furnace actually does need to be fixed! There are several situations in which you could potentially solve the problem yourself and save some money on an unnecessary repair call:

  • Change your filters: As mentioned above, your air filters get dirty really quickly! If your furnace isn’t putting out enough heat, change the filter and see if that doesn’t do the trick.
  • Check your thermostat: A heating problem in your house might not have anything to do with your furnace. Inspect your thermostat to ensure the batteries aren’t dead or the wiring isn’t messed up somehow.
  • Check the power: Sometimes, your circuit breaker will trip and turn off your furnace without your knowing it. Double check that this hasn’t happened before bringing in the pros!

If you’ve double checked your furnace, and it’s still not working, give Caporuscio Plumbing & Heating Inc. a call for furnace repair in Altoona, PA. Our professionals have years of experience in the industry and we can get your furnace back up and running as soon as possible.

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