There are many reasons that you may need to visit the furnace in your home, but if you are unfamiliar with HVAC systems in general or just your home's anatomy, it might be difficult to find the furnace. No worries, though. We have accessed the information needed to help guide you to this appliance.
The furnace is typically placed in a central location in a house. You can usually find it in a utility room—such as a basement storage space, a closet, a garage, or an attic. Another hint as to where it might be is to look near other home equipment such as the water heater.
So now you know where to look for your home's heat source, but you might want some more information about this appliance. Keep reading to learn more.
How A Furnace Works
An African inventor by the name of Alice H. Parker was the one to patent the first gas-fired furnace. This was in 1901, a time when most homes lacked any type of central heating and cooling system, and people relied on the crude, smoky heat from wood or coal-burning furnaces or fireplaces.
Wood and coal-burning heating systems gave families no great control over the temperature of their homes, and a person would have to stay close to the heat source to stay warm.
The gas furnace was quite different; instead of giving off heat to warm the air around it, it pulled cool air into its machinery, heated it with a gas-fueled flame, and then forced the warmed air out into the home.
Do All Homes Have Furnaces?
The vast majority of homes in the United States have some sort of central heating system, but this certainly is not the case for all. In rural areas especially, homes may rely on electric wall heaters or standing heaters to stay warm.
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In rare cases, one may come across a home that still uses a wood or coal-burning furnace as its main heat source.
Even when there is a furnace in the home, there may not be as well-heated areas. This could be due to less insulation in the area, old or cracked windows, or perhaps the area of the home being an add-on. One might find that an extra heat source is necessary. In this situation, electric space heaters are excellent devices to be used.
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How Do I Know If My Furnace Is Electric Or Gas?
An energy crisis in the 1970s led to many Americans switching to electric furnaces, but this was a temporary fad. Today, most heating systems in the United States are powered by gas, but there is a chance that your boiler is electric.
You may be curious as you encounter issues with your heating system, or you may have noticed that your electric bill is quite higher than expected in cooler months. Whatever the case, it's a good thing to know whether your heater is electric or gas.
There are a few ways to tell. The easiest way, of course, is to read your furnace's label or manual. However, this is not always readily available.
Blue Pilot Light
A gas furnace will show a blue light of a flame and the sound of a gas burner, while an electric heater will not. If you see or hear either of these, that indicates that you have a gas furnace.
Gas Furnace Exhaust Vent
You can also check for an exhaust vent on the furnace. A gas furnace must have ventilation, while an electric furnace has no need for this feature. This detail of a gas furnace is usually made of galvanized steel or aluminum tubing, connected to an outdoor area.
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Connected Gas Line
If you have the knowledge to be able to identify a gas line, you can also check for this feature connected to your furnace. A gas line may be connected to the furnace by copper, cast iron, or plastic tubing. This could get a bit confusing, though, as electric furnaces also may have heavy wiring exiting the machinery.
The Furnace Location
Does A Furnace Have To Be In The Center Of A House?
Because a furnace forces air throughout a home's duct system, the rooms closest to the furnace will typically be the warmest, while the areas farther away will be provided with the least heat.
While a furnace does not have to be in the center of a home, it is wise to place it there so that the warm air it provides can be evenly distributed.
If the furnace is on the far east side of the home, for example, the rooms on the west side of the home will be far cooler than the rest of the house. This could be both uncomfortable and costly for inhabitants because the furnace may work harder to compensate.
Other Location Considerations
There are other considerations that must be taken into account when either trying to locate or place a furnace. The furnace must be in an area where there is ample space. This is both so that the unit and gas or electric lines will fit and so that a technician can access all sides of the unit to perform maintenance.
What also must be taken into account are ventilation (if a gas furnace) and air input. If there is not adequate ventilation in place or an area where you can put ventilation in place, the unit could exude hazardous gas and become dangerous for the home.
Air input is necessary for a furnace to heat a home. If the furnace is in an air-tight area, this will prevent it from working properly and efficiently heating the home.
Can You Move The Location Of A Furnace?
Yes, you can move your furnace, but you should know that it can be a difficult and costly aspect of your renovations. Many homeowners would like to move their heater. Perhaps the current location conflicts with their dreams of an open floor plan, or maybe the current location has just become inconvenient.
Whatever the reason, while it is certainly possible, it can be complicated. If you do choose to transfer your furnace, it is highly suggested that you find another centrally located area. This could be a basement utility room, garage, or attic.
In any case, stretching the connections of the HVAC system to move the furnace is a bad practice. While convenience and aesthetics are important, what's most important is that the heating system will be effective during frigid weather.
Is It Expensive To Move A Furnace?
It can be quite costly to move a furnace, but it largely depends on how far you are moving it and what must be done to accommodate this relocation.
Securing the services of an HVAC professional for this service will run you at least $600 alone, but this is for the very basic service of moving and reconnecting the furnace. There could also be other fixes that you must make to the HVAC system to make this possible. In which case, the service could cost more.
In addition, there may be parts and pieces on the furnace and HVAC system which need to be replaced. Purchasing these could cost you, on average, $1,400 or more.
These numbers do not include the cost of repairing drywall and painting in the furnace's new room and where the furnace was previously.
It is estimated that the average cost of this project is around $2,600, though it could cost more or less depending on the circumstances. If moving the furnace to another area of the home, you should plan on spending two to three thousand dollars on the project.
The furnace is the most vital component of a home's central heating system. As winter approaches, you may need to pay your furnace a visit to perform routine maintenance and make sure it's working at its highest efficiency. If you don't know where the furnace in your home is located, that could prove a bit difficult.
We've given you some guidance to help you locate your home's boiler, like looking in the central most areas of the home and in utility areas such as the basement, storage closets, and the garage. We wish you good luck in your search!
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