Winter nights are getting colder, you’re cuddling closer to your hubby who now has to sleep with an octopus wrapped around him, and everyone is wearing a jacket to dinner.
This isn’t some crazy sitcom playing out, it’s a clear sign there is something wrong with the heating. Has someone upstairs closed the hot water taps? Are the heating fairies on strike? Either way, it needs to get sorted, and quick. Or people will be visiting an ice-cream factory when they come around for dinner.
What is a Furnace Heating System?
This type of system is quite clever, it does all the work, has all the equipment, but you only ever see the tip of the ice-berg. Most heating systems are in basements.
The way it works is warm air is blown through the house and into the rooms via air grills, or those fin looking boxes on the walls. The air travels through pipework known as ducts and this is where the name comes from the ducted warm-air distribution system.
The great thing about it is that it can be run on many different types of fuels from gas, fuel oils and electricity.
How does it work?
If you need to replace your furnace or repair it, it would be a good thing to understand how it all works. Let’s take a look at the basic steps of a heating cycle:
- Your fuel of choice, whether gas or propane is lit up and started in the burner.
- As the flames grow and the temperature increases, the metal heat exchanger starts to heat up and get hot and is expelled out the flue.
- Air. This heat exchanger changes the temperature of the air coming in. So, it heats the air.
- The fan inside the furnace then takes this hot air and blows it through the duct pipes and it is distributed throughout the rooms in the house.
- Repeat. As the rooms start to warm up and get cosy, any cold air is drawn back into the return ducts and the story begins again.
There are different stages, different types and different heat distribution methods, read about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furnace to see the rich history and culture of its invention.
Tips for Buying a Furnace Heating System.
Have a plan. Make sure you have done some research, get to know and understand what are the different models available to you and the different feature options they provide. The characteristics of the individual styles could have an impact on your budget and maintenance, so it’s important to know what you are getting yourself into.
Look for a system that is going to be the most efficient for your needs. This will help immensely cost-wise in the long-term. And then you need to decide if you want a split system of hot and cold functions, or if you don’t have the available space, then opting for a packaged unit might be best for you. These are placed outside.
Of course, then there are fuel sources. Gas is good for extreme climates where temperatures drop to below zero, oil is a powerful source but you will need that extra bit of storage room for the extra components, and then electricity while efficient can rack up the meter bills in no time.
If you are short on a budget and space but you need a solution, then a heat pump could solve your problems, and they have good economic value.
Maintenance and When to Repair or Replace your Furnace.
A heating system is quite an investment into a home, so ensuring it is working properly and you are getting the maximum benefits out of it is imperative. Be sure of any indications that might suggest it’s time to have a quick check-up and repair if need be.
If it does need repairing be sure to have a professional come in and take a look, you can search on this website for expertise in the field and credible advice on the best solution for your home and needs.
A safe place to start is to know the installation date and how long you have had it, anything over 10-12 years should be kept an eye on. A big red flag and I’m sure the bill payer in the home will let you know the first thing if the heating and energy bills are increasing. A sure sign it is not running efficiently.
Then there is the thermostat that every family member seems to be adjusting? This can indicate that the system is not regulating and distributing the air evenly throughout the home or rooms. You end up with one child shaking like a leaf and the other a walking shower.
Noises or odd sounds coming from the ‘engine’ room should be a wakeup call for sure and would have me running for the hills. You’ve seen those movies where there are strange sounds in the basement, it doesn’t end well.
The main thing is that you keep on top of it. Regular checkups, maintenance, and tweaks here and there can increase the longevity of your furnace.
We would all rather be spending our hard-earned money on holidays and time with the family instead of seeing repairmen come in and out all day as you see your salary slowly dwindling away in front of your eyes.