Although Corpus Christi winters are fairly mild, a broken furnace can make for a miserable day or two while you wait for service. Understanding how your furnace works can help you troubleshoot minor problems and communicate better with your service technician.
Although furnaces have few moving parts, they’re complex machines with several critical components.
The thermostat monitors the temperature in your rooms, and when it dips below the settings, the thermostat sends a signal to the furnace. Gas enters the burner, and the pilot light ignites it, and the heat exchanger begins to heat up.
The Heat Exchanger
The heat exchanger is a metal chamber that heats up the cool air that flows through.
The blower is located next to the slot where the air filter sits. It brings in air from the cold air return — the duct next to the filter slot — and sends it through the filter to remove dust and other particles. The air flows around the heat exchanger and into the plenum.
The large metal box that sits atop your unit is the plenum, or the compartment where warm air gathers to be forced through the ducts and into your rooms through the heat registers.
The flue is a round pipe connected to your unit that sends combustion gases outside through the roof or wall.
Maintaining Your Furnace
The best way to prevent heating problems in the winter is to schedule an annual tuneup each fall. Normal wear and tear takes a toll on efficiency, and over time, connections loosen and dust builds up inside, compromising operation and safety. An annual tuneup includes checking for carbon monoxide leaks and tightening gas and electrical connections.
Changing the air filter is an important way to prevent airflow problems that can cause overheating and other damage. Inspect your filter each month, and when it’s dirty, swap it out with a high-quality replacement.
For more information about how your furnace works and how to best maintain it, please contact us at CCAC, proudly serving the Coastal Bend with a high level of customer satisfaction.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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