Gas furnaces use natural gas to power the heat source for a building’s heater. A gas furnace has a higher running temperature than many other heating sources such as electric. The average running temperature of a gas furnace is around 125 to 140 degrees F. Gas furnaces can either be installed as a floor or wall unit. Usually the structure and ductwork in the house determine which system should be used. Gas furnaces are unique because they use external air for combustion and venting.
A higher running temperature ensures that houses are kept warmer and at a more consistent temperature. The ability to offer a consistent heat can also cut down on operation costs and heating bills. Gas furnaces also have a longer lifespan than most electric furnaces. This means that the yearly cost of owning a gas furnace is more economical than owning an electric furnace. Repairs and maintenance on a gas furnace are also less expensive than electric.
The cost of gas furnaces can vary by model, type and location. Additional factors such as the age of the unit, the installation costs, the price of natural gas and how cold your geographic location is can also affect the final cost of a gas furnace.
While there are many benefits to owning a gas furnace, there are also some drawbacks. The price of natural gas is not a steady price, and the fluctuation of gas prices can cause gas furnace operation costs to skyrocket during peak times of use. Natural gas can also leak causing fires or inhalation sickness.
Each gas furnace has many of the same components. Gas furnaces operate through the use of combustion air intakes. Gas furnaces use gas to fuel the small burner flame that heats the air. Each furnace also has an intake and exit vent to keep the fire lit and to provide ventilation for the system. A motor is included to push and pull the heated air to heat exchangers and into the air duct system to heat the entire house. Air filters are important to keep dust and other particles out of the system which can cause fires and blockage to the valves.
Part six of our commonly asked questions series – furnace replacement questions.
The guy who fixed my parents furnace said “They don’t make them like that anymore, that furnace will last forever – you don’t need to change it.” Is this true?
– That person is probably right! We could make it run forever…providing you are willing to take the chance that parts are available for the older furnace and you’re willing to withstand the cold until a repairman can fix you up. The question that I have is: Are you comfortable in your home in every room, every floor? Are you happy with the noise level of your furnace? Are you happy with your utility bill in the winter while your furnace is running?
Most of today’s furnaces deliver an even, consistent flow of heated air to eliminate hot and cold spots throughout the home. Nearly continuous operation at very low speed means little sound from fewer start-up cycles. Some of the same technology that makes these furnaces so quiet makes them very efficient all year long. Low electrical combined with 96% combustion efficiency makes this choice much clearer.
What are the differences between mid efficient furnaces and high efficient furnaces? Are there ‘real’ savings and how does the price vary?
– Mid-efficient furnaces are in most cases eighty percent efficient. To translate, every dollar that you spend on gas, eighty cents is used to heat your house, twenty cents goes out the chimney. A high-efficient furnace is ninety-four percent efficient, ninety-four cents is spent on heating and only six cents goes out the chimney. 🙂
Mid-efficient furnaces draw air from the house to provide oxygen to the burner. This is accomplished by a power exhauster, drawing anywhere from 150 cfm [cubic ft of air per minute] to 200 cfm. This is warm air you have already paid to heat. A high efficient furnace has intake and exhaust piping directly to and from the outside. Therefore air is not taken from the house to provide oxygen to the burner. The payback on a hi-efficient over a mid-efficient would be less than two years in most cases.
What can I do to control the humidity levels in my home?
– Humidity levels can be reduced by using a variable speed furnace as part of your HVAC system. Variable speed units run longer, at lower speeds, allowing air to constantly circulate against the cooling coil and remove more moisture. Variable-speed motors also use less electricity than regular motors, reducing your energy costs.
Part three of our commonly asked questions….this post is all about gas furnaces.
If I smell gas, what should I do?
– If a gas odor is noted inside your home, the following steps are recommended: All phone calls should be made from outside the home. Do not use the phone inside the home or turn any power or light switches off or on during this time. Then contact 1) the local Fire Department , 2) your gas company, and 3) your heating contractor.
I’ve had a gas furnace for many years. Everything seems fine, but I have been getting headaches after being in my home for short periods of time. What should I do?
– Contact one of the three above. A service call may expose a furnace problem needing correction. The single biggest concern is possible carbon monoxide exposure. Fire departments, gas suppliers, and heating contractors should all be able to use testing instruments to verify this problem. Provide an opening [crack window or door] to provide fresh air inside your home while waiting for this to be done.
I’ve always had an electric furnace, but I’m considering replacing it with a new gas furnace. Are they safe? Are they efficient?
– When installed correctly and inspected properly, a gas furnace installation should be safe. The highest efficiency we can offer at this time is 98.2%, which means less than three cents of every dollar spent going out the exhaust. This is a significant savings when compared to teh twenty cents of every dollar loss in an 80% efficiency model, the industry minimum.
How does the furnace type affect the ‘feel’ of the air blowing from the vents?
– All fossil fuel-type furnaces [i.e., gas, oil, coal] produce the warmest air coming out of the registers. Fossil fuel furnaces are more comfortable than heat pumps.
This is part one of our series on heat. We will ask an answer several commonly asked questions, and feel free to ask some in our comment section as well!
Does my furnace have a filter?
– That depends on what type of furnace you have….but in Georgia, it is safe to say you do. If you live in another area [mainly colder places], you may have a boiler/radiator…so check with your local HVAC company to see what you have.
How often do I need to change my furnace filter?
– There is no one answer to this question. It depends on the type of filter your system has, whether you have pets, if anyone in your home has allergies, etc. If you use disposable 1″ filters, once a month is a safe answer – but can vary up to three months in some circumstances. If you have a permanent, electrostatic filter, it needs to be cleaned roughly once a month to every three months as well. If you have a five or six inch filter, those can last from three to six months, depending on the above factors.
Filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change, so there is really little reason to wait. If you don’t change or clean your filter often enough, the filter can get clogged with dust and other airborne particles, forcing your furnace to work harder to maintain air flow. This will reduce your furnace’s efficiency and can cause damage.
Why do furnace filters exist?
– Furnace manufacturers put fiberglass filters in their furnaces to remove airborne particles that might damage the fan and the heating coil. Particle buildup can also decrease the efficiency of your furnace, as the furnace has to work harder to pull air through the intake. More expensive filters can also improve the air quality in your house by removing pollen, bacteria and mold spores from the air. This is especially important if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies.
Do I have to use a filter that is manufactured by the same company that makes my furnace?
– You should be able to buy your filter anywhere that sells the appropriate size. Some of the thicker and odd size furnaces may need to be ordered from your HVAC company. If all else fails, always revert back to the documentation that came with your system just in case.
From your friends at Progressive Heating and Air!
Most of us don’t think about our HVAC equipment until it doesn’t work. Isn’t that the way it goes? Well, your heating and air conditioning system is one of the most important pieces of equipment you have in your home. When it doesn’t work, it’s not just you that is inconvenienced, it is your entire family.
Trust is such an important factor in our trade. We know that. Regardless of where you live – find a NATE [North American Technician Excellence] Certified technician. These guys have gone through some serious testing in a bunch of different areas – including heat pumps, gas furnaces, air distribution, energy efficiency, etc. You can go to this website and type in your zip code to find a company that hires these technicians in your area.
A little bit about us at Progressive Heating and Air:
We pride ourselves on providing our customers with professional installations and reliable service. We are a team of expert technicians and sales engineers trained in all aspects of sales, service, installation, renovation and replacement of commercial and residential HVAC applications. Progressive Heating & Air Conditioning can help you with any heating and air problem as well as diagnose your whole house and recommend solutions that will provide you and your family with the most energy efficient home possible. Progressive Heating & Air Conditioning offers much more than just heating and air! Customer service: that’s what it is all about. Making sure every call gets answered in a timely manner and that every job gets done in a prompt and professional manner by qualified people. Sounds simple doesn’t it? That’s because it is, if you just hang on to that original thought and don’t forget where it is you came from or who it is that got you there.
Oh – and by the way, we are a NATE certified company, and very proud of that!
Give us a call to schedule your appointment or get some advice at 770-253-2665. If you would rather schedule an appointment at your convenience, you can do that on our website.
We are proud to have serviced the Coweta and Fayette county since 1994!
The last two years have been polar opposite when it comes to cold weather. In the winter of 2010/11, we experienced more snow and school closings due to the weather than we can remember. The winter of 2011/12…what winter? Didn’t fall just turn into spring? It just goes to show how unpredictable the weather can be. The state of Georgia has some of the most unpredictable weather most of the time anyway, so I’m sure this is no surprise to you.
Preventative maintenance is important so you’re ready for those cooler/COLD days. Who wants to turn their furnace on during the first thirty degree night and find it not working? What a mess that would be. Cold, stressed, loss of sleep – all when it could have been prevented!
Our annual service agreement customers know the value of this service. They enjoy the following benefits:
- 15% off all repairs
- Priority service
- 2-4 maintenances per year at a reduced savings over a regular tuneup
- Peace of mind
- Potential problems spotted before trouble and major expenses occur
- Extended equipment life
- Lower utility bills
- 2 year price guarantee
- Emergency after hours service that will not be charged at overtime rates
After all that – who wouldn’t take advantage of this service?