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Gas furnace parts: What are they and how do they work?

Many homeowners here in South Louisiana rely on a gas furnace for their winter heating. Natural gas furnaces are among the most affordable and reliable heating systems available. In this article, we’ll review how gas furnaces work, the major gas furnace parts, and why a gas furnace may be a good fit for your home.

Need a new heating system here in Morgan City, Houma, or Thibodaux? We’re the team to call. Get a free in-home estimate from the NATE-certified heating professionals at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning.

The gas furnace basics

Gas furnaces use controlled combustion to generate heat energy, which is then transferred to indoor air. The blower then pushes this heated air through the air ducts of your home, distributing it to different rooms. Combustion byproducts and gases are emitted outside through the flue pipe.

A gas furnace’s efficiency is measured by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. Essentially, AFUE represents how much of the fuel (natural gas) is successfully turned into heat energy. The higher the percentage, the more efficient and less wasteful the furnace is. For example, an 80% AFUE furnace converts heat out of 80% of its fuel, with 20% being wasted.

Gas furnaces are distinct from both electric furnaces and heat pumps. Instead of combusting fuel, electric furnaces push air through heated electric coils to rapidly warm it. Think of an electric furnace like a giant hairdryer. In contrast, heat pumps utilize a completely different technology to heat your home. Instead of generating heat, heat pumps pull residual heat energy out of the outside air and bring it into the home. Heat pumps are actually capable of both cooling your home in the summer and heating it in the winter by simply reversing the process for each season.

Get to know your gas furnace parts

No matter the make or model, all gas furnaces have a few basic components that allow them to function.

1. Gas Burner

The gas burners in your furnace ignite natural gas as part of the combustion process. This makes them one of the essential gas furnace parts.

The gas burners in your furnace ignite natural gas as part of the combustion process. This makes them one of the essential gas furnace parts.

Most gas furnaces have an active pilot light inside of the gas furnace. When your home’s thermostat turns the furnace on, gas is slowly fed into the burner. This light ignites the natural gas, rapidly heating up the chamber. As you might imagine, this is a controlled process: a critical safety component known as the flame sensor ensures that combustion is occurring, so that there is no excess buildup of gas inside of the furnace.

As furnaces age, their combustion process becomes less efficient. That’s just one of the warning signs you need a new gas furnace.

2. Gas Manifold

Another one of the most important gas furnace parts is the gas manifold, which connects burners with the gas valve. Brass fittings called spuds connect the burners to the manifold. The amount of gas that is transported to the gas burners depends on the size of the hole drilled in the manifold.

Comparatively, this part requires little maintenance and care as compared to other components of the gas furnace. Still, when you schedule a furnace tune-up with us, we’ll take a look to make sure your gas manifold is still operating properly.

3. Heat Exchanger

The heated air inside of the burner chamber cannot simply be pushed into your home. Just as in your car, combustion creates gas byproducts that are not safe to breathe indoors. It’s for this reason that the combustion process happens on one side of the heat exchanger, with your home’s indoor air on the other. Air is pushed through the heat exchanger—which resembles a set of coils or tubes—which rapidly heats due to the heat on the other side. This air is then pushed by the blower through ducts into your home.

The heat exchanger plays a vital role in preventing indoor air and combustion air from mixing. This is why a cracked heat exchanger is bad news for your home. While such scenarios are rare, a cracked heat exchanger may allow flue gases like carbon monoxide to get into your home’s air.

Be sure to check out this blog post to learn more about the common warning signs of a gas furnace breakdown.

4. Blower

All forced-air HVAC systems feature a blower unit—this is where the “force” in “forced-air” comes from, after all. The blower pushes the heated air from the heat exchanger into the ductwork of your home. This superheated air then travels through the ducts to vents and registers in individual rooms, where it begins to change the temperature of each room to match the goal indicated by the thermostat.

Here’s something all homeowners should know: the blower, whether being used for the air conditioner in the summer or your furnace in the winter, requires adequate air intake to function. Be sure to clean your HVAC air filter regularly. As this filter clogs with dirt, dust, pet hair, and more, it allows less fresh air into the ducts.

5. Thermostat

Thermostats control the temperature in your home. You can use them to adjust the temperature according to your comfort level. When you turn up the thermostat, the flame of the gas burner gets larger (via the gas burner), increasing the temperature. On the other hand, when you turn down the thermostat, the flame shrinks, lowering the temperature.

While not strictly part of your gas furnace, your thermostat is the key to controlling it. This makes is one of the most essential gas furnace parts.

While not strictly part of your gas furnace, your thermostat is the key to controlling it. This makes is one of the most essential gas furnace parts.

Thermostats use a temperature sensor to gauge the current temperature of your home. For this reason, you should place the thermostat in the center of your home to ensure that your furnace heats the home evenly. Placing a thermostat near a window or exterior wall may lead to it misjudging what the overall temperature in the home is.

Smart thermostats

On a final note, you’ve probably heard about smart thermostats. Also known as programmable thermostats, these upgraded thermostats allow you to automate and set your home’s temperature ahead of time. This helps you avoid the all-too-common situation where you accidentally leave the heat on all day while you’re away at work.

Smart thermostats can help you save money and live more comfortably. They also reduce the overall wear-and-tear on your gas furnace parts.

Have our team inspect your gas furnace this fall

There are many gas furnace parts, but each needs to be working together at their best to produce even, effective, and efficient heating for your home. With furnace maintenance from the expert techs at Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we’ll make sure that each part is checked individually and ensure that they’re all working cooperatively for the best possible comfort and energy savings.

To schedule your heating tune-up here in Morgan City, Houma, and Thibodaux, call our team today. Have other questions about your gas furnace or its components? Let us know how we can help!

Is it time to install a new furnace? Here are 5 benefits to upgrading

What was once new eventually becomes old. That’s certainly the case for your furnace. It may have been brand-new 15-20 years ago, but now it’s ready to be replaced. It’s time to install a new furnace. In this blog, we’ll run through the benefits of making the switch and calling Bob’s for new furnace installation.

5 reasons a new furnace is a good idea

Why not keep your older furnace? You will face frequent breakdowns, need furnace repair more often, and see increased bills with an older furnace. Also, ditching the old system has many perks. From greater efficiency to increased comfort, here are five benefits of upgrading to a new furnace in Louisiana.

1. Improved energy-efficiency

The latest furnaces are more energy-efficient than systems that were built a decade ago. They use less energy and are more efficient in heating the room. Newer systems have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of more than 90 percent. The higher rating means that the furnace costs less to operate, resulting in lower energy bills.

2. New furnace + programmable thermostat = big savings

Another perk of upgrading to a new furnace is that they’re compatible with programmable thermostats. These thermostats can be programmed to set temperatures automatically. You can program them to set temperatures according to the usage during different times of the day.

For instance, you can set the furnace temperature to be lower when no one is inside the house. Also, you can set different zones in your home. This will provide you with greater control over the temperature—and your heating bills.

Aside from a more comfortable home, pairing a programmable thermostat with a new heating system will result in much lower energy bills. You can save up to hundreds of dollars annually.

3. Get optimal comfort for you and your family

Modern furnaces feature variable-speed technology. Unlike the traditional fixed-speed technology, the technology in modern furnaces is more efficient in heating the rooms. They can generate more consistent warm air and maintain the temperature at a more constant level.

Also, modern furnaces provide superior humidity control. By upgrading to a new furnace, your home’s comfort will be improved.

4. Make your home safer

Newer furnaces also come with more advanced safety features. They are less likely to develop leaks. By virtue of being new, they’re also not going to have problems that older systems might, such as a cracked heat exchanger.

5. Feel confident with your furnace

Lastly, the perk of upgrading to a new furnace is that you will have to face fewer breakdowns. As a result, you can remain perfectly warm inside the house all throughout the winter.

The above are reasons enough why you should consider replacing your old furnace. Also, it’s important that you connect with a professional HVAC company for regular maintenance and repairs of the furnace.  This is important to increase the lifespan and reduce the chances of emergency breakdowns.

Install a new furnace by calling the team at Bob’s

In case you reside in Houma, Thibodaux, or Morgan City, or nearby areas in Louisiana, you can contact Bob’s. We have a team of highly experienced professionals who can provide you the right guidance when it comes to installing a new furnace.

5 signs your furnace needs repair from Bob’s this winter

What are the most important signs your furnace needs repair? Knowing what signals an impending problem could save you and your family a major headache this winter.

In this blog, we’ll review the things that can tip you off that something isn’t right with your furnace, so that you can call us at Bob’s for 24/7 emergency heating repair.

5 major signs your furnace needs repair

1. Your heating bills have been rising

An unusually high heating bill is a clear sign that your furnace requires repair. There are many reasons that can cause the energy bills to spike, from a broken part to the need for cleaning or dust buildup.

Either way, hire the professionals at Bob’s for a thorough inspection of the furnace. We’ll get the repairs done and your heating bills back down.

(By the way, to prevent heating problems ahead of the winter season, consider scheduling a fall furnace tune-up with our team!)

2. Your furnace is making strange noises

Strange noises coming out of the furnace is another indication of something wrong with your system. If your furnace rattles, bangs, or squeaks, you should get it checked by a professional.

An experienced technician will quickly determine the cause of the noise and perform the required repairs.

3. Your heating is not up to your standards

Insufficient heating is a clear sign of a furnace trouble. The problem can occur due to different reasons. However, most likely, it is due to a faulty blower fan or motor. Also, the problem can happen due to a problem with the pilot light or heat exchanger. A qualified technician will inspect the furnace to determine the problem and perform repairs.

4. Your air ducts are emitting dust and dirt

If you notice an unusual amount of dirt and dust coming out of the heat registers, it could be your furnace. Your system could be giving a sign that it is about to fail. A certified technician can inspect the furnace to find out the cause of the issue.

5. Your heat exchanger is cracked

A biggest risk with gas furnaces is a carbon monoxide gas leak. This gas is produced inside the combustion chamber of the furnace. A cracked heat exchanger can potentially leak carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is an extremely hazardous gas. It’s both colorless and odorless, and can be fatal for you and your family. If you suspect that your heat exchanger is cracked, turn off the heat and gas and then call Bob’s for 24/7 emergency repair.

Call the pros at Bob’s for 24/7 emergency repair

If you notice any of the signs your furnace needs repair listed above, you should immediately contact the experienced technicians at Bob’s for furnace repairs.

We’re proud to serve Morgan City, Thibodaux, Houma, and surrounding areas in Louisiana, and we offer professional repair and maintenance for all types of furnaces.

To get started, give us a call at (985) 384-0283 or contact us online.

5 benefits of scheduling a fall furnace tune-up

Winter is almost here in southern Louisiana. Have you had the pros here at Bob’s inspect your furnace yet this season? There are multiple benefits to scheduling a fall furnace tune-up, including lower energy bills and more reliable system performance. And autumn is the perfect time to get your heating inspected!

If you’re looking to schedule a furnace tune-up here in Thibodaux, Morgan City, or Houma, call the team at Bob’s at (985) 384-0283. Or, contact us online.

5 benefits of scheduling a fall furnace tune-up

The fact is that the fall is the best time to schedule a tune-up of the furnace. Here are five reasons why you should consider scheduling a full fall furnace tune-up with us.

1. Avoid emergency breakdowns

The primary benefit of scheduling a fall furnace tune-up is that it boosts your chances of avoiding an emergency breakdown of the furnace this winter.

To avoid the need for furnace repair, you should consider getting your furnace checked and serviced during the fall.

2. Increased lifespan

A furnace that is serviced regularly will undergo less wear-and-tear. It will run more efficiently, saving you money in the short-term and reducing the “mileage” being put on the system every winter. Over successive years, this will result in extended lifespan of the unit. 

3. Avoid paying high energy bills

A properly tuned-up furnace will work efficiently without using extra gas or electricity. If the furnace is not tuned up or cleaned properly, it could need more energy to produce less heating as it has to push heated air past dust and grime. That’s not a winning combination for your bills or indoor air quality.

By scheduling a furnace tune-up this autumn, you can save on your energy bills—all winter long.

4. Maintain your system’s warranty

A regular tune-up will help maintain the integrity of the warranty of the system. Most manufacturers require that your furnace be serviced regularly by a professional in order to keep the warranty valid. Skipping a fall service date can void the warranty. Don’t be kicking yourself when your furnace breaks down and you find that the warranty has lapsed.

5. Keep your furnace running safely

Lastly, keeping the furnace in good condition will ensure the safety of the household. An experienced technician will scan for any gas leakage from the heat exchanger during a routine inspection. Such an issue, if not resolved, could be dangerous. A cracked heat exchanger can potentially leak carbon monoxide gas.

Call Bob’s to schedule your fall furnace tune-up

If you want to avoid the unpleasant situation of a furnace breakdown during the winter, you should consider getting your furnace checked up during the fall. Here in southern Louisiana, Bob’s is the team to call. Call us at (985) 384-0283 or contact us.

Annual HVAC maintenance for your AC and furnace matters

Annual HVAC maintenance is necessary for your home’s air conditioner and heating system.

Keeping your home’s cooling and heating systems maintained will ensure that they do not break down unexpectedly, that they have peak performance, and that they use less energy.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound spent on a cure. Here are five of the benefits of scheduling a furnace tune-up in the fall and an AC tune-up in the spring.

1. Fewer repair problems

The foremost benefit of annual heating and cooling maintenance is that you will have fewer repairs to worry about. The repairs will be less frequent when you have the system serviced regularly by qualified technicians.

The cost paid for the annual maintenance will be worth it in the end, as you will not have to pay for repairs. (Although, if you need it, we do offer heating repair as well as cooling repair)

2. Avoid high energy bills

Regular maintenance will allow your heating and cooling system to work efficiently. The system will not strain extra power when it is performing at the peak level. This will keep your bills from getting unnecessarily high.

3. Extends the life of the unit

Your heating and cooling system contains many mechanical components. Having the system and parts regularly serviced will ensure that the components don’t undergo great wear and tear.

The qualified technicians at Bob’s will thoroughly inspect your heating and cooling system and promptly resolve problems, such as clogged filter, faulty fan, and others. This will ensure that the mechanical parts of the heating system work properly, thereby extending the overall life of the system.

4. Efficient performance

Regular maintenance of the heating and cooling devices will ensure optimal performance. The efficient performance will ensure that you are kept warm during the winters and cool during the summers.

Also, it will ensure that system does not strain itself while cooling or heating the room, thereby resulting in fewer breakdown problems.

5. Fewer emergency breakdowns

Nothing is more stressful than the heating or cooling system breaks down in the middle of a heat wave or cold snap. The odds of this happening will be lowered if you have the system regularly serviced by a qualified technician at Bob’s.

Having the heating and cooling devices regularly serviced will greatly reduce the risk of emergency breakdowns thereby allowing you the peace of mind that you and your family will remain comfortable and cozy at all times.

Call Bob’s for your annual HVAC maintenance

In conclusion, annual HVAC maintenance for your air conditioner and furnace will give you a peace of mind in knowing that your system will perform efficiently without any problems. The system will remain energy efficient thereby resulting in reduced energy bills.

You should contact experienced air conditioner or heating technicians at Bob’s Heating for annual maintenance in Berwick, Morgan City, Patterson and the surrounding areas. Contact us today!