There are many different ways of heating your home and the best one to do so will be the one that will save you the most amount of money and will heat your home economically and sufficiently without high initial costs and complicated installation. It is simply unacceptable to spend a large amount of money on a furnace that heats your home intermittently and which leaves pockets of hot or cold air. Not only is this annoying, but you can get quite sick from severe fluctuations in the temperature in your home.
Before buying a forced air gas furnace you need to consider if this will be the best heating solution for your home and which model would work the best based on your home situation and circumstances.
What is a Forced Air Gas Furnace?
A forced air gas furnace is a heating system that is used mostly in homes and businesses in residential areas where natural gas lines have already been laid under the ground and usually parallel to a street to the buildings. This saves on costs because the owner of the building does not have to have gas lines laid especially for the buildings use. Thus the buildings in more remote areas do not usually make use of this kind of heating.
The unit is supplied with the natural gas which is heated and then dispersed through the building by heating ducts and vents which heats up the building to the set temperature. With modern technology being what it is, the digital thermostat can be set to start heating at a certain time to an exact temperature which saves largely on heating costs, heating fuel and the earth’s natural resources.
In the past 20 years the design of these furnaces have become more efficient with less heat escaping the home, making them more efficient and cost effective which means that it can be affordable to heat your home. There are many other ways of heating your home and you would need to look at the practicality of all of these methods before committing to one in particular.
The forced air gas furnace can also be fitted with an air-conditioning unit which can cool your home during the hot summer months as well. This makes your furnace a good companion all year round and you can move around your home or business with relative comfort and then simply disarm the unit when you are not there to save on energy and cost.
How Does a Forced Air Furnace Function?
The forced air gas furnace pulls cold air into a series of ducts into the unit where it is then heated and then led through the home through another series of ducts and vents releasing the hot air into the rooms and heating the building. This air is usually pulled in from outside and the by-products from the heating process is led out of the home without letting the hot air from the home escape as it used to with the older chimney systems.
The Fuel for the Fire
Although the air is led in from outside to heat up the home, the unit needs fuel to heat up the water. This fuel comes in the form of natural gas which is led through gas lines to the home. This gas is then ignited to warm the air up which is then led to the rest of the home. Although there are other fuel sources available, the natural gas is the most affordable and is safe for the environment. A thermostat which is linked up to the heating unit controls the heat of the air which is then released into the home. The thermostat can be set from the comfort of the home to whichever temperature is comfortable and can then also be set for a certain time or duration as well.
The excess gas and other by-products are then led outside of the home either through a flue to the roof or through a vent through the exterior wall. In this way it is channeled to where it can be safely removed from the home avoiding poisoning or suffocation.
What Is the Efficiency and What Does it Mean
When you are looking at buying any gas furnace, you will be advised to purchase one with a high AFUE, but what exactly does that mean for you? Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE is a way to measure how much of the fuel that is used by the unit will be turned into heat. If your unit has a 95% AFUE then it means that for every dollar you spend on fuel for the unit you are using 95 cents of to heat your home and only 5 cents of the fuel is lost through evaporation and other processes.
This would then make it obvious to get the furnace with the highest AFUE. This does not necessarily have to be the most expensive one. There are many mid-ranged forced air gas furnace models that will not have such a large initial cost and cost of installation, but will still give you value for the money that you did spend on it. To conserve natural resources, furnaces are regulated and may not have an AFUE of less than 78%. This gives you the peace of mind that you will not be able to buy a substandard gas furnace as all furnaces have to be tested and approved before they are released for consumption.
You may only need a low efficiency model if your home is well insulated and small. It is not always necessary to go for the highest efficiency model you can afford. Take your space available to you into account before purchasing a unit. For larger homes, the higher AFUE models are usually recommended to avoid high heating costs.
Where a Forced Air Furnace Works Best
It is very important to know that your forced air gas furnace is installed properly. If it is not and if your ducts and vents are not in good repair, you can seriously jeopardize the health and safety within the building and can at best affect your fuel efficiency. All vents and ducts must be checked and double checked to ensure they are safe to use.
The smallest leak in a fuel line can seep into the air supply and the fan system will then start to push the gas into the air supply to the home which can largely affect your health. This can lead to carbon monoxide exposure or even poisoning.
The system needs to be balanced as well to ensure even heating throughout the home. Closed doors that block the ventilation system can create problems with the general heating of the entire room because the air is not distributed through the home properly. There should also by a free flow of air around the home which is not obstructed in any way.
It is very important to have your unit installed by a professional unless you know what to do and exactly how the flow of air works within your home or you follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions to the last letters. An approved installer will know exactly where to place the system and where to place the vents and ducts so that you have no loss of fuel or heat to your home. The installation of your unit can also have an affect on your warranty which makes it equally important to have it properly done.
How Extreme Temperatures Influence the Unit
There will always be concerns with heating systems when you live in an area where the temperatures fluctuate between extreme cold and extreme heat. When you have a water boiler system then the pipes may freeze over and there is always a chance that when you switch the unit off that the water will freeze and it takes more fuel to heat the water to the correct temperature again.
With natural gas it becomes a lot easier because the gas will not freeze in the pipes. The gas is led into the home underground where the pipes are not influenced as much by the extreme temperatures and as long as vents and ducts are maintained and debris free, your system should function perfectly throughout the coldest winter. The gas is ignited and heats the air which is pulled from outside. All that is left now is to keep the windows and doors closed to keep your home nice and warm. The gas system will also save on fuel costs during extreme temperatures because there are no extra heating times needed to bring everything from below freezing temperatures and the thermostat system works well to keep your home at a constant comfortable heat throughout the day and night.
The amount of time you spend on heating your home will influence your heating costs, but if you are going to have your unit working all day, you may want to consider investing in the highest AFUE unit.