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How Electric Furnaces Work

Electric Furnaces: How Does an Electric Furnace Work

Initially, sources of heat such as wooden fires and small-sized furnaces fueled with waste wood were used for a very long time. These furnaces were later replaced by one’s that functioned by burning coal and other fossil fuels. Then the energy crisis and environmental issues resulted in the development of natural gas furnaces. Natural gas furnaces are now being replaced by electric furnaces. The functioning process of electric furnaces are totally different from that of furnaces that consume fossil fuels or burnable fuels. The electric furnace is also known as a domestic furnace. This furnace is different from the industrial furnace and must not be mistaken with the furnace that is used to melt metals.

How Does an Electric Furnace Work

The basic function of an electric furnace is to maintain a higher temperature in the house or any building. As compared to furnaces that consume fossil fuels, electric furnaces are economical to operate due to their unique functioning process. The operation of any furnace depends upon the thermostat. The thermostat is a simple unit that acts like a thermometer. Just as the air conditioner is set to a particular temperature, the thermostat is also set at a given temperature. If the temperature of the house falls below the set temperature on the thermostat, then the house starts to become colder. The drop in temperature is sensed by the thermostat. The thermostat thus alerts the electric furnace that is usually situated in the basement of a building. The most important component of the conventional electric furnace is the heating coil. This coil turns extremely hot when electric current is passed through it. The heated coil in turn heats the temperature of the air around it. The heated air around the coil is then routinely blown into the house through a blower. The pressure that is exerted by the blower on the heated air, warms it further. This air is blown into the house and the uncomfortably low temperature rises to a pleasant level. The cold air that was initially in the house replaces the hot air in the electric furnace. This air is in turn heated by the heating coil of the furnace and is blown back into the house. To maintain a supply of fresh air in the house, some furnaces also suck air from the atmosphere outside. This air however is very cold and heating it drastically increases the energy consumption of the furnace. After the air in the house reaches a particular temperature, the thermostat automatically shuts off the electric furnace.

Advantages of Electric Furnaces

Old furnaces operated with the help of fossil fuels, creating a lot of pollution by releasing many carbon compounds and gases. They also drastically increased the particulate pollutants in the air. On the other hand, the electric furnace does not pollute the environment as it does not burn any fuel. Electricity consumption of the electric furnaces can also be controlled with the help of the thermostat. Modern electronics have also enabled the development of electric furnaces with low energy consumption.