Central heating is a concept that existed centuries ago. Romans invented the earliest known invention which relates to it. This invention, called a hypocaust, uses a heat source underneath the floors while flues and chimneys push the exhaust through walls and other areas of the dwelling.
When furnaces came into existence, the wood used to be the primary fuel source. Later on, coal replaced wood as an energy source. Gas became widely available in the 1940s and became the main fuel choice for a home furnace. A home gas furnace was very popular then, but because of an energy crisis in the 1070s, electric furnaces also started becoming popular. Today, homeowners are no longer concerned with the energy crisis involving gas; hence, a home gas furnace remains the most popular heating appliance for households around the country.
Modern furnaces used today are manufactured from a variety of materials, including:
- Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is favored because of corrosion resistance and is typically used in making heat exchangers. Burners, frames, and blowers are often made from aluminum or aluminized steel. At the same time, brass makes up most electrical wires and valves.
Gas Furnace Design & Manufacturing Process
A thermostat can be replaced and your furnace suddenly “dies” on you, and there are many choices available. When you’re in a dilemma about what type of Gas furnace design and manufacturing process is right for your home.
When a home gas furnace first became available, the typical design consisted of a burner, heat exchanger, gas control valve, and external thermostat. Instead of a fan or blower, forced air provides the circulating function, which distributes heated air across vents and ducts. Unfortunately, this system was highly inefficient, causing more than half of the hot air to escape through the chimney.
Home gas furnace designs today have improved in terms of efficiency. High-efficiency furnaces consist of a secondary heat exchanger, circulation blowers, and other parts. New models prevent hot air from escaping through the flue. Here are the steps to manufacturing a furnace:
- Two pieces of 409 stainless steel sheet make up the heat exchanger. To create the form, hydraulic presses fuse together the two sheets of stainless steel.
- A secondary heat exchanger welded using stainless steel tubes and fins is next in the manufacturing process.
- The two heat exchanges are then put together, and a flue is attached to the secondary heat exchanger.
- Following the production of heat exchangers, burners are then made from aluminized steel; most manufacturing companies have these pre-fabricated and ready for assembly. One burner is attached to each heat exchanger.
- A gas control valve is mounted on top of the assembled heat exchanger and burner. A pipe connects the valve to the burner.
- The same hydraulic press that formed the heat exchanger will then form the air circulation blower housing. The motor and rotor are then connected to the blower housing.
- A mounting plate attaches the blower to the heat exchanger and burner. Another mounting plate connects the circuitry and transformer to the unit.
- The assembly is completed by mounting the blower assembly to the heat exchanger assembly.
- The home gas furnace cabinet consists of the housing and two doors. Fiberglass insulation is then attached to the sides of the cabinet.
- The cabinet finally gets attached to the furnace assembly.
To make sure that each home gas furnace meets the stringent quality standard, the manufacturer conducts extensive checks and tests.
Benefits Of Using A Natural Gas Furnace
One of the primary considerations in choosing a home furnace is the fuel source. The type of fuel affects efficiency and overall performance. Since natural gas is readily available around the country, a home gas furnace is the most popular choice. Compared with other fuel sources, natural gas-fired furnaces offer a number of benefits.
First, operating a natural gas furnace is cost-effective. If your home furnace is still dependent on burning oil, for example, you can expect to pay around $2,500 throughout the winter. Oil prices keep going up as it is affected by the worldwide market situation. Compare this with natural gas, where a household only pays around $1,000. That’s more than half in savings for several months of use. Another factor that adds to the cost-effectiveness of a home with a gas furnace is its ease of maintenance. A properly maintained natural gas furnace can last up to 20 years of use.
Second, a natural gas furnace provides better heating and comfort. A home gas furnace can produce heat that is 25 to 35 degrees warmer than other fuel sources. Compared with oil-fired furnaces, natural gas furnaces also produce a more even heating throughout your home.
Lastly, using natural gas means you can rely on consistency and availability. For homes located in areas with frigid and long winters, running out of fuel can be extremely inconvenient. If your home furnace is fueled by oil or electricity, running out of oil or experiencing a power interruption are only some of the issues you have to worry about. This is not the case with piped natural gas coming from a reliable utility company. A home gas furnace will always give you the peace of mind of knowing your home has a heating source you can depend on.
Why Choose A High-Efficiency Gas Furnace
Since we have established that a home that has a furnace is an excellent choice for home heating, the next point of discussion is efficiency. While it is true that a home gas furnace is cheaper to operate and also more reliable than other fuel sources, efficiency matters if you truly want to ensure that you are paying less on your energy bills while also reducing the carbon emissions produced while keeping your home warm during winter.
The AFUE rating measures the efficiency of a home furnace. This raring pertains to how much of the energy consumed gets converted into energy. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace. More than 30 years ago, a home gas furnace had an AFUE rating of around 65%. This translates to 35% of the energy lost and wasted. Currently, the law requires that new home gas furnace models should at least have an efficiency rating of 78%. If you think about it, this number is still not good enough. A truly efficient furnace must be rated at least 90%. If you are aiming for a near-perfect efficiency rating, there are furnaces with an AFUE of 98%.
Before you switch to a high-efficiency furnace, you need to look at several factors, such as the price of a new furnace as well as the operational cost. Buying a new home gas furnace with 90% energy efficiency will cost around $1,000 more than an average furnace with 80% efficiency. But despite the upfront investment, you can recover the investment by paying lower energy bills over the life of the furnace. High-efficiency furnaces also have a longer life span than lower-efficiency furnaces.
Before you choose a particular size or model, your contractor should calculate the exact operational cost of running each particular model and furnace size. The contractor’s calculations should also factor in any costs associated with adjustments made to your vents and ductwork.
What Contributes To The Efficiency Of A Gas Furnace
There are several components that contribute to the efficiency of new home gas furnace models. These include:
Temperature changes drastically from day to day, even during winter. As such, your home’s heating requirements also change. High-efficiency home gas furnaces feature two-stage heating where a lower heat setting applies to particular times of the day when high heat is not required, while the high setting only kicks in when the temperature outside calls for it.
Secondary Heat Exchanger
High-efficiency gas furnaces rated 90% or above are also called condensing furnaces. The purpose of the secondary heat exchanger is to collect exhaust fumes produced by the primary heat exchanger and extract as much energy from the fumes as possible. This process allows the furnace to convert most of the fuel into energy and produce less waste.
Variable Speed Fan
Another feature of a high-efficiency home gas furnace is a blower which operates at different speeds. Different blower speed allows the heating system to save energy when it switches to low-speed capacity.
Most furnaces use a pilot light to ignite the heating system. A consistently burning pilot light can use up and waste energy. In lieu of a pilot light, high-efficiency furnace models use electronic ignition, which only turns on when needed, hence saving energy in the process.
Furnaces with unsealed combustion use heated air inside the home to work properly. With sealed combustion furnaces, air from outside the home gets drawn in to ensure energy efficiency and improve safety.
Changing your existing heating system to a high-efficiency home gas furnace will entail a lot of work. If you are considering switching, contact us for any additional questions you may have, or give us a call today at 206-202-9499 to learn more about high-efficiency furnaces and how they can benefit you.