Thursday, 28 March 2013

How does a gas furnace work?

A gas furnace is an extremely important and useful appliance for people living in cold regions. Also known as a home furnace, it converts gas to heat and is used to keep the circulation of indoor air warm and comfortable for living conditions. As an environmentally friendly option to preserve natural resources like wood, coal and oil to heat homes, natural gas is used in recent times. Some furnaces operate at 95% efficiency which simply means that what you pay for energy is converted into heat for your home’s indoors.

Before going on to understand how a gas furnace works, take some time to know the parts of a furnace. A home furnace is divided into three parts. The first part consists of the burner, heat exchanger, vent and draft inducer. The second is made up of safety devices and controls. The third consists of the blower and air movement. All these parts work in unison to keep the furnace running efficiently.

How does it work?

A gas furnace is a forced home air heating system that reacts when the indoor air temperature drops below the programmed setting on a thermostat. The heart of your home furnace is the burner controlled by a thermostat. When the temperature indoors falls below a certain point, the thermostat alerts the furnace which combines air and fuel and the mixture gets ignited by an electronic igniter.The combusted, hot gas begins to rise through the heat exchanger situated above the burner and heats the air which is circulated throughout the house. The remaining exhaust exits the gas furnace from a vent, which is let outside the house. The whole heating process starts at the heart of the system, which is the furnace controlled by the thermostat. Some furnaces come with two or more burners where huge volumes of air are heated for distribution.Meanwhile, an electric fan situated inside the furnace pulls in fresh air which comes through a flat, large grill located in the floor, wall or ceiling of the house. Before the fresh air reaches the furnace, it must filtered properly of dust and other particulate matter.If the cold air is not properly cleaned then it can have an adverse effect on its operation. You need to replace furnace filters every month and also keep the duct vents clean to provide maximum working efficiency and heat to your home. The filtered air passes into an enclosed space known as the plenum which is located opposite to the heat exchanger.The exchanger then heats the air very quickly which comes from the plenum as a result of high pressure. The hot air is passed out of the furnace and through the ductwork into your home’s indoor spaces. 

The ignited gases that are used to create the heat are vented through a shaft in the wall or roof. However in some furnace installations, a humidifier is added near the place where the intake duct is located so that the drying out of heated air can be mitigated. Humidifiers are directly connected to the water line by a tiny copper pipe.Another pipe is also used to drain away the condensation created from the process. Till the temperature inside reaches a specific point, the process is repeated again and again. Only after a certain level, the thermostat stops the furnace from the heating process.The size of the FurnaceIt is important to consider the size of the furnace before installation. The size of the gas furnace should match the size of the indoor spaces meant for heating.If the furnace is too large, it will off repeatedly and short-cycle, which in turn can lead to wear and tear on internal components and spikes in electricity.If the furnace is too small, it will constantly run in cold weather, which will take more energy to warm indoor spaces and therefore increase electricity usage.To determine what furnace size to purchase, take important points into consideration like your home’s total area for heating and type of insulation used. A well-insulated home goes a long way in keeping your furnace running efficiently and cut back on energy bills every month.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Cut your energy bill by half by following these methods

Most homeowners will never add up their year’s worth of energy bills. There are so many options and tips to help you save and cut your energy bill by half every year. According to statistics taken by the U.S. Department of Energy, an average household spends about $2,000 every year on heating and cooling. That is no small amount for a middle class household. Here are a few tips to keep in mind and some home improvements you can do to add up around $1,000 in energy savings every year;

Unplug Chargers and other Electronics

Most remote operated devices like TVs, set-top boxes and devices with chargers like cell phones and computer equipment use power even when they are switched off. So make sure you unplug them when they are not in use.

Use Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Compact Fluorescent Lamps otherwise known as CFLs use over two-thirds less electricity compared to standard electric light bulbs. For most used areas in your home that needs light, you can replace five regular bulbs with CFLs to save energy.

Change Furnace Filter

When was the last time you checked your heating or cooling systems air filters? Heating and Air conditioning contractors recommend homeowners to check their unit’s air filters once in every 2 months or each month during the peak seasons like summer and winter. When filters are dirty, it is important to replace them immediately, reason being that clogged filters restrict clean airflow, which in turn reduces energy efficiency and increases wear and tear on your heater or air conditioning parts.

Lower the Heat

Did you know that heating accounts for around 31% of an average home’s energy costs? To keep your home’s indoors warm and comfy without raising your energy bills, experts suggest to lower the room temperature frequently so that you can save 5% on your heating bill every cold season.

Raise the Cool

The second-biggest energy user next to a home’s furnace or heater is the air conditioner. Nudge up the thermostat so that it saves about 1-3% per degree on the cooling bill in the warm and hot seasons. Ceiling fans also serve as a boon to your cooling unit and can help make a huge difference by several degrees in keeping your home nice and cool. But an important fact to remember is that fans only cool people and not rooms. So make it a point to always turn them off when no one is around. 

Install Programmable Thermostats

To automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings according to your daily schedule, install programmable thermostats. For instance, if you leave the house for the day without turning up the AC or turning down the heat, these programmable thermostats can save a lot of energy and money in the bargain.

Weather-Seal Outlets and Openings

During the summer and winter months, air leaks around windows and doors waste cooled air in summer and heated air in winter. To prevent this from happening, you can add weatherstripping to openings in windows/doors and fill gaps around them with caulk. This way the money saved on your energy bill every month is enough to pay for the necessary materials.

Seal Ductwork

To keep dust/insects out of your unit’s ducts, improve its energy efficiency and stop the loss of expensive heated/cooled air, make it a point to seal the ductwork indoors. Air ducts made of metal air ducts are prone to leakage especially when they age.

Air-Seal and Insulate

For the best return on investment for your heating and cooling units, add insulation and air-seal areas which are the most common trouble spots. This includes your attic, basement or under the floors.