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How Does A Heater Work?

You might be in the market for a new heater, or you might be curious about how your heater provides warm air for your home. Either way, it’s a great step to understanding your heating system, being more aware of malfunctions and appreciating the impact that a failing heater can have on your home.

Champion AC & Plumbing is ready to share our expertise on how heaters work in your home. Remember that professionals are still the best people to handle your heater repairs, even if you understand how your heating system works. Keep reading to learn more about the components of a whole-home heating system and how an electric heater differs from a gas heater!

Electric Heaters

There are many different kinds of heaters — even within the electrical category alone. Each unit can differ slightly in its makeup and function. The base process of heating air, however, stays relatively the same.

The most important thing to know about electric heaters is that they are powered by electricity. This means that running your heater will use energy. Up to 50% of your home’s energy consumption can be attributed to your HVAC system — it uses a significant amount of energy to keep you warm! 

Producing Heat

Electricity produces heat. Inside the heater, there are a set of coils called the heating element. When electricity passes through the heating element, the coils retain the heat. Air from your home is sucked into the system by a series of ducts and passes over the hot coils. As it passes, some of the heat is transferred into the air. Fans and blowers then push the warm air through the ductwork and back into your home. This cycle repeats until the thermostat sensors identify the desired temperature in your home.

Gas Furnaces

As indicated by the name, the first major difference between electric and gas heaters is the power source. Furnaces can use fossil fuels to create the heat that electricity does in other models. Furnaces most commonly use natural gas or liquid propane gas to heat the home.

Warming The Air

A gas furnace has a pipe connecting it inside your home to the fuel source outside your home. This source might be an outdoor propane storage tank or it might be the natural gas pipe network underground. When gas is sent into the furnace, it is ignited by carefully controlled flames or an extremely hot surface. This process occurs within the heat exchanger — a series of metal tubes that divides the combustion from other areas inside the furnace. The heat exchanger is made of thin-walled metal, allowing the heat to come through, but not the exhaust. The exhaust, or byproduct from burning gas, is funneled outside your home.

Air is then sucked into the furnace from your home by a series of ducts. As it passes over the heat exchanger, heat is passed into the air. A blower fan then directs the warm air to different parts of your home until the thermostat sensors signal the system to shut off. 

Need Heater Repairs?

Knowledge is power, but skill is security. Our team is happy you’re pursuing knowledge about your heating system. If you suspect something is out of order with your furnace, let a professional troubleshoot the issue safely. You’ll be able to rest assured that your heater is providing safe and warm air to your home all winter. Contact us today for your heater repairs!