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How Does A Forced-Air Heating System Work?

Canada is known for severe winter weather. For this reason, most Canadians go for forced-air heating systems to warm their homes. Whether you are already the owner of one or planning to switch a mid-efficiency furnace to a forced-air heating system, read along to find out about the benefits and possible pitfalls. 

Why do Canadian homeowners prefer forced air heating systems?

It distributes heat fast

With a forced-air furnace, a home is likely to be warm and cozy within a few minutes.

It is available at a pocket-friendly rate

The cost of installing your furnace might seem high, but over time it saves you money. The only thing worth ensuring is proper maintenance. Once you check on it frequently, you can rest assured that the cost of having your forced air furnace remains manageable.

It uses little energy

A forced-air furnace uses little energy and still distributes heat to your entire house. The same can’t be said about space heaters.

The other most attractive thing about forced air furnaces is that the thermostat gives precise time settings and temperature control. This aims at ensuring that your furnace does not operate when you don’t need the heat – this helps save energy.

High quality of air

The forced air furnaces have filtration systems and humidifiers that help keep the air circulation in your home warm, dust, and allergen-free.

It can be used during the summer

Due to the filtration system, the forced air furnaces can be used with air conditioners during summer. This proves to be economical and also convenient.

Here is how a forced air furnace works

To understand how a forced air furnace works, you need to know how every component in the furnace works.


This is the most critical component of the forced air furnace. It is considered the brain of the entire system. Its role is to detect your home’s temperature, after which it sends electrical circuits to the furnace.

The thermostat also instructs the furnace on when it needs to turn on or off. It is the role of the thermostat to ensure that the burner gives the preferred amount of heat. The temperature of your home solely depends on the thermostat.


As mentioned above, the thermostat is considered the brains of your forced air heating furnace. It is, therefore, safe to depict that the ducts are the veins to the entire system.

The ductwork in your heating system plays a vital role in bringing in the cold air from your house and then supplying it back to your home after it has been warmed. The former is done by the return ducts, while the latter is made possible by the supply ducts.

It is vital to consider having your ducts checked by a professional once or twice every five years. Proper maintenance keeps your duct from blocking or even breaking. Failing to maintain the forced air heating furnace could result in the blockage or breaking of the ductworks, causing you to spend more money on repair or even getting a new furnace.


Burners are enclosed – fuel is ignited from here. They operate closely with the thermostat such that when the thermostats require more heat, the burners open up and burns the fuel hence giving more heat.

The burners have inbuilt flame sensors such that if they don’t detect a flame, it shuts the supply to prevent further gas release.

Heat exchanger

This is the component that makes the warm and cozy air you anticipate available. It is made of metal tubing that holds the cold air and eventually changing its temperature via radiant heating. After the cold air is heated, it is distributed into your home.

Blower fan

A blower fan is the most reliable indicator that your forced air heating furnace is working. The fan gets the air moving when the stove is turned on. It cycles the cold air then pushes the warm air out through the ducts.


This part is exceptionally vital. It plays an essential role in getting rid of combustion gases created when burning fuel. This part needs frequent maintenance to keep it from being clogged or leaking.

It would help if you never ignored any leakage or blocking sign. This poses a huge threat to you and your entire family – it is advisable to have a professional over immediately.

Let’s Launch Deeper

The above insight explains the basic parts of a forced-air heating furnace. Here are a few of its sophisticated features.

Pilot light

This is the ever-burning flame that ignites the burners. The pilot light must be blue at all times. Any other colour is a clear indication of serious trouble. If your furnace is a little bit new, you will notice an electric ignition and not a pilot light.

Fan limit switch

The fan limit switch controls how much the fan cycles. It also comes in handy in turning the blower on and off. Again, any time your blower is overheating, the fan limit switch shuts it down.


Anytime the electric ignition starts to malfunction, or your pilot light goes off, the thermocouple saves the day by turning off the gas supply. The thermocouple is mistaken for the flame sensor. The latter is used when referring to the former and vice versa. It is vital to note that these are two different components.

How can you keep your forced air heating system from wearing and tearing?


We can’t stress this point enough. It would help if you did maintenance often. This keeps your furnace components from further damages that could have been countered easily before getting out of hand.

If you let the forced air heating furnace operate for too long with some of its parts broken, it is a clear indication that you are more than willing to spend a huge amount on energy bills. The more the breakages, the more time and energy your furnace will require to warm your home.


The above insight should benefit Canadians intending to invest in forced air heating furnaces. The most important thing is hiring a qualified contractor to install your furnace. For most manufacturing companies, the rule of thumb is, installations must be done by a professional; otherwise, a homeowner risks having the heating system warranty voided.

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