Radiant, Steam, and how Forced Hot Air

We have looked at Radiant Heat, Steam heat, and today let’s take a look at Forced Hot Air.  Remember when we mentioned that a Furnace is a device that makes Hot Air as compared to a Boiler that makes Hot Water.

In today’s discussion we will be talking about a Furnace and its ability to make Hot Air which is then pumped throughout the house.

Many times, people will look at what they think is “The Furnace” and wonder how something so small can heat you house.  Typically, that is a boiler, they are small where as a Furnace tends to be larger with a lot of air ducts seemingly coming and going.  A Forced Hot Air system can look confusing with all kinds of “Arms” going in all different directions.

Take a look at today’s photograph.  The blue part is where the combustion takes place and the heat travel upward into the Heat Exchanger towards the top of the combustion part.  Air is forced through the heat exchanger where it is warmed and then it continues to be forced through the heat ducts throughout the house.

At the bottom of the Blue Part is a large “Squirrel Cage” fan that forces a large volume of air through the heat exchanger and on into the house.  As the fan forces air up into the house it is sucking air from the house.  The air is drawn to the furnace through a “Cold Air Return” where it is pumped through the Heat Exchanger and will exit into various room through an Air Vent as nice warm air.

Very basically the furnace simply moves air around and around through the house as it warms that air in the Furnace which in turn keeps the house nice and warm.

Forced Hot Air has both advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages – Forced Hot Air is very popular when the owners want the same duct work to take care of Central Air Conditioning in the summer.  Also, Forced Hot Air is an Energy Efficient way to heat your home.

Disadvantages – The duct work can consume space in the basement and that duct work needs to be periodically cleaned, a rather nasty job.  Also, a Furnace is equipped with air Filters that must be periodically replaced as a part of regular maintenance. 

If your home is in Burlington, you might enjoy the option for Central AC where as in Barton you might prefer the Forced Hot Air heat throughout the winter and worry less about AC.

What are your thoughts?  Join in the conversation or call us at 802.985-5855

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