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Tips to help your furnace heat things up this winter

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This story is sponsored by Dominion Energy. Learn more about Dominion Energy.


Giving your furnace the cold-shoulder could end up making you cold all over this winter season. A properly tuned furnace prolongs the life of your appliance, lowers heating costs and most importantly keeps you safe and warm during Utah’s frostier months.

Let’s talk about how your furnace works. When the temperature inside your house drops below the setting on your thermostat, natural gas is delivered and a flame ignites inside the combustion chamber. After a short time, the furnace blower fan turns on, pulling air through the furnace filter and past the furnace’s heat exchanger to warm it. Then that toasty air is circulated through the heating ducts into all parts of your home.

Meanwhile, the combustion byproducts are removed from your house through the furnace vent connector and vent. When the inside temperature reaches the setting on the thermostat, the furnace shuts off automatically.

Phew, that’s a lot of work!

The two things that allow your furnace to “breathe” as it operates, helping to burn its fuel cleanly, completely and efficiently, are: combustion air and venting. Let’s learn a little about both.

Combustion air

All combustion requires oxygen, and your natural gas furnace is no exception. A furnace needs to “inhale” a plentiful supply of combustion air in order to operate properly. Some furnaces get their combustion air from inside the house, while others get theirs from outside. If your furnace gets its combustion air from inside your house, the furnace should be in a large, open area. Otherwise, you should install louvers or grills in the furnace room door or wall to provide the combustion air.

Venting

Just as your furnace needs to inhale during operation, it also needs to exhale. Your furnace’s venting system provides a passage for combustion byproducts to be “exhaled” to the outside. It’s important that this venting is the correct size and type, and that it’s properly installed. You want that stuff out, not in.

Now that you know what your furnace does for you, here’s what you can do for it.

Get your furnace inspected by a licensed heating contractor to ensure:

  • Your furnace is installed correctly.
  • The burners are properly adjusted.
  • There is adequate ventilation.
  • Remember to: Check your furnace filter and replace it if it’s dirty.
  • Never store flammable or combustible materials near your furnace or water heater.
  • Natural gas fuels your furnace. Here are some fun facts about this energy source: Natural gas is lighter than air, and if released into the atmosphere it rapidly rises and dissipates rather than pooling on or near the ground.
  • In its natural state, it is odorless and colorless.
  • Natural gas is nontoxic.
  • A rotten egg-like odorant called mercaptan is added to natural gas to make leaks easy to detect.
  • Natural gas is environmentally clean.

A natural gas furnace is a safe and efficient appliance, as long as it’s properly installed and maintained. For more information, visit www.dominionenergy.com.