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In the United States, 48% of homes use natural gas for heating.
Natural gas heat is by far the most popular choice among homeowners. Almost as many people use natural gas heat as electric and all other fuels combined.
Natural gas offers many benefits, including that it burns clean. This means that natural gas remains a popular choice even during periods where awareness of climate change has grown. It is a responsible way to heat your house, both efficient and less polluting than other options.
Natural Gas Heat
Natural gas furnaces are often part of a forced-air system and can integrate into a central heat and air HVAC system.
Natural gas heat is also found in floor units, as well as older models of furnaces that have become less common in the last few decades.
What Is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is a naturally occurring fossil fuel. It is not just methane as you may have heard, but instead features a mixture of other compounds as well. One unique feature of natural gas is that it generates very hot flames when ignited.
Natural gas is very combustible as well, easy to light, and doesn’t offer much resistance to flame. While under high-pressure natural gas can blow out small fire sources before igniting. Once measured release starts, however, the gas combusts and generates a high heat flame.
Natural gas is useful in many appliances. Natural gas stoves are very popular in both residential and commercial settings. This is perhaps the most common way most people see or interact with natural gas flames.
How Do Natural Gas Furnaces Work?
A gas furnace might seem complex and mysterious. However, once you understand how the base components work, it starts to all make more sense.
How the Gas Travels
It all starts with natural gas going into the unit via a pipe or line. This gas is then fed into a part of the furnace known as the combustion chamber. In the combustion chamber are lit flames, pilot lights, the ignite the natural gas as it enters.
In some units, this then causes the heat to go into metal rods or grids. This causes the heat generated to last a bit longer as the metal radiates heat. In some older models of furnaces, this radiating heat is used as the primary means of warming the air. In modern units, however, that is not the case.
The Gas Is Then Ignited
Once the gas is ignited, the heat generated by this ignition is very high and moves into the heat exchanger. This part of the unit is where the air is heated up and released into the house. Natural gas has a high ignition temperature, so a furnace is able to quickly increase the temperature around the furnace.
Heat Then Circulates Through the House
In most modern systems, there is a fan that pulls the hot air out of the heat exchanger. If you apply ductwork to the system, that is how you get central heat or a forced-air heating system. This fan then causes the warm air to be circulated until the thermostat detects a preset temperature.
It is important to note that, as with most furnaces, the thermostat must be set in a central location in order to ensure even and proper heating. This step is what allows the entire house to be warmed, not just the area around the furnace. If your thermostat is too close to the furnace, your house will not be properly heated.
This is one of the ways that makes natural gas furnaces different than other methods of heating. You are using a very old and well-understood concept to heat your house. The fire that causes the heating is fueled by natural gas, whereas in the past, other fuels like wood or kerosene were more common.
If you’re interested in learning more about gas furnaces you can check out the link here. This article will describe more specifics about parts and functions. Remember, gas furnaces are by a wide margin the most popular type of furnaces in use in the United States.
Other Fuels Used in Heaters
The system that natural gas furnaces used is the same in most respects to other types of gas heaters. The most common modern version of this is the propane heater. Any gas that has a high ignition temperature can function in place of natural gas, but they aren’t as prevalent.
One element that makes natural gas and propane so attractive is that there is almost no after product to their burning. With other fuels, such as gasoline, the release of pollution can cause grime and soot to build up very fast. This makes them less attractive for use inside a home or business.
It is this clean-burning that is a hallmark of why natural gas is so popular. When natural gas is burned, the ignition is so hot that it is considered a clean burn. This means that you won’t see smoke rising from your furnace because there is so little carbon released when the gas is combusted.
This means that gas furnaces can be cleaner and better for the environment even than electrical furnaces. The reason for this is that the production of electricity causes a lot of pollution, and the more that is used, the more pollution is created.
Like all modern appliances, natural gas furnaces are also updated for more efficiency. This is to help reduce the amount of pollution, but also the cost of operating a unit. Unlike other energy sources, most people pay very little in comparison to their use of gas.
Natural Gas Furnaces and Your Home
If you’re considering getting a furnace installed, you can’t go wrong with natural gas. As long as your home has access to the infrastructure that supplies gas, natural gas is among the very best options. These furnaces are efficient, they heat up the air fast and will make your house much more comfortable.
Natural gas heat has been used for a long time because of all the advantages it offers. In the modern world, the understanding of this has led to even more popularity. Clean, efficient, and cheap, natural gas heating will serve you well no matter where you live.
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