Hot gases rise. This is the principle behind the conventional furnace. Because furnaces burn a fuel to generate heat, they need some system to vent exhaust gases so that they don't cause a problem in your home. The conventional furnace uses a heat exchanger to extract some of the heat from the gases while still leaving enough heat that the exhaust gases will rise up the vent pipe and out of your home. Condensing furnaces use a second heat exchanger to extract even more heat from the exhaust gases and thus improve efficiency. Read more to learn about exchangers and why you should consider getting a condensing furnace.
The Purpose of a Heat Exchanger
Exhaust gases are hot, but they are also poisonous. Thus, you cannot just use a fan to push exhaust gases into your home as a means of heating up your home. A heat exchanger is a metal component that is filled with tunnels. These tunnels channel the heat up out of the combustion chamber to the vent pipe. As the gases pass through the exchanger, it absorbs some of the heat from the gases. A fan then pushes cool air over the hot exchanger, and as the air passes over the outside of the exchanger, it heats up. Because a conventional furnace leaves some heat in the exhaust gases, it will top out at about 83% efficient.
The Improved Efficiency of the Condensing Furnace
A second heat exchanger means that the exhaust gases are in contact with the metal from the exchanger for a longer period of time. This means that the gases cool even more as the metal from the second exchanger heats up. In fact, the gases cool so much that the water vapor in the gases condenses to a liquid. A condensing furnace will thus require a drain pipe to allow the exhaust gases to escape from the furnace. Because of how much heat a condensing furnace can extract from exhaust gases, it can achieve efficiency rates of up to 97%.
If you have an older furnace, then you are wasting money on heating your house. Buying a newer, condensing furnace should help to decrease your monthly heating costs. While a newer, conventional furnace would be cheaper, the improved efficiency of a condensing furnace should make for greater savings. If you are sick of paying too much to heat your home through the long, cold months of winter, then you should definitely consider what a condensing furnace can do for you. Contact Cool Air Mechanical, Inc. for more information.