You don’t have to be a mechanic to own or operate a vehicle. Some knowledge, however, can be valuable when encountering an issue or even when purchasing a car. Likewise, you don’t have to be an HVAC technician to own a home with a furnace but having some basic knowledge can help keep you safe and help you make better decisions when it comes time for repairs or an HVAC replacement.

Homeowners, for example, should understand the basics and importance of combustion. If you have any gas appliance, whether it is a water heater or furnace, combustion is taking place in your home on a regular basis. You certainly want it to occur efficiently. It is critical that it takes place safely. Knowing how combustion takes place and why a combustion analysis with draft gauge measurement is so important can be helpful.

The Three Components of Combustion

The three components to maintain combustion are fuel, heat, and oxygen. If any one of these is insufficient, combustion won’t occur.

  • Fuel – As it relates to your natural gas furnace, the fuel is the natural gas itself. We tend to take the supply of gas for granted but corrosion and debris impede the supply of fuel to your furnace.
  • Heat – The heat to your furnace is generally supplied by the igniter on your furnace. Your thermostat controls when the igniter will supply heat to the natural gas based on the temperature it is set at. If the ignition source fails, safety features will keep gas from flowing into the combustion chamber.
  • Oxygen – Air that is supplied to your furnace or water heater provides the necessary oxygen to complete the combustion triangle. High-efficiency furnaces will have air pumped directly into the combustion chamber from the outside. Less efficient furnaces will draw in air through louvers in the furnace cabinet. If this air is restricted the furnace can’t operate efficiently and may not ignite at all.

Along with the three components of combustion, draft is also critical to the safe and efficient operation of any gas appliance. That is because, after combustion, carbon monoxide and flue gasses need to be removed from the home. The proper draft is important in removing these gasses. This is why our Althoff HVAV technicians perform a draft check and combustion analysis on each service call.

Our technicians use three tools to ensure the safe operation of your HVAC system. A recent short video we created helps demonstrate the importance of these tools as a way to diagnose your equipment.

Your HVAC equipment may be the largest mechanical component of your home. Make sure it is operating safely and efficiently. For a furnace clean and check, professional repairs, and for recommendations on the most efficient equipment to choose for your application, we invite you to contact the professionals at Althoff Industries. We are here to keep you safe and comfortable.

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