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How Does an Electric Forced Air Furnace Work?

An electric forced air furnace works on the same principle as other types of forced air furnaces, but it has electric elements to heat the air, a circulating fan driven by a motor to blow the warm air, and a thermostat to regulate the temperature. The fan forces the heated air into a network of ducts that deliver the heated air to each room of the house.

An electric forced air furnace is a single, closed and compact unit that can be placed in any convenient location in the house. It has the following components:

  • Heating elements
  • Circulation fan
  • Electric motor
  • Thermostat
  • Air filter
  • Air filter control box
  • Ducts
  • Switch

When the electric forced air furnace is switched on, the heating elements, which are made of high resistance  metals become hot. The circulation fan draws in cold air from the  room.  The air is then passed over the hot heating elements, which warms up the air through the process of convection. The circulation fan then blows the heated air into the ducts that provide a passage to each room. Since warm air from the same source is forced into each room, all the rooms become evenly warm.

Installing the electric furnace is easy

Place it in a convenient location, usually a room which is not  occupied. Once installed, the furnace works with very little intervention and rarely breaks down when maintained as per manufacturer’s specifications

For an electric air furnace to keep working efficiently, it needs to be maintained regularly. The purpose of the air filter is to collect dust and other particulates, so it needs to be cleaned or replaced regularly. The fan blades can also become heavy with dust after months of use, so they should be wiped clean regularly (electric power should be turned off when doing any maintenance).  Changing the air filter can be done by the homeowner.

The cost of operating an electric forced air furnace depends on several variables, including the utility rates, thermostat setting, size of the system, home insulation, ductwork insulation, outdoor temperature, leakage from air ducts and maintenance. An electric furnace is a good option for areas where natural gas or propane are not readily available options.

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