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For those who don’t know what a furnace is, this will be your basic guide. A furnace is a device used to heat people’s homes or other types of establishments. Back in the day, the most common furnaces were fueled by wood and coal. Today, there are different types of furnaces that function in different ways.

But how does a furnace actually work? For the ones who are eager to know, you will find out in the sections below.

There are 3 types of furnaces:

  1. The forced-air furnace – This furnace is the most common nowadays. This type of furnace heats your home through a heating cycle:
    • Propane or natural gas, serving as fuel, is ignited in the burner.
    • The flames start heating a metal heat exchanger, which begins to consume the flue.
    • The heat exchanger transfers the heat to the incoming air.
    • The furnace’s blower pushes the heated air into the ductwork and then it sends throughout your home.
    • When this happens, the colder air starts entering the furnace through the return ducts. And so the process is repeated.
  1. The electric furnace – This furnace is similar to a hairdryer. Here is what happens in an electric furnace:
    • The system pulls air into the heat exchanger.
    • While the air is in the heat exchanger, the electric heating elements will start heating up, warming the air. It similar to the forced-air unit, but uses electricity instead of gas.
    • Once the air is warm, the blower pushes it out in your rooms via ductwork, ensuring a warm and cozy home.

Very important components of this type of furnace are the following:

  • 3-6 electric-resistance elements – They are the main heat producers.
  • The contactor – It controls the voltage of the heating elements.
  • The sequencer – This component turns on and off the heating elements.
  • The transformer – It provides the furnace with power so that everything mentioned above happens.


  1. The oil-burning furnace – This type of furnace is very common as well. The oil-burning furnace system works like this:
    • The furnace’s blower sprays the oil into the combustion chamber at very high pressure.
    • The oil is then ignited by an electric spark, which creates heat.
    • The furnace spreads the heat throughout your home so that you don’t freeze.


It’s good to know how things work but don’t hesitate to call an expert to help you with your furnace needs. When in doubt it’s a safe bet to call a professional HVAC contractor, and at Debord’s, we constantly aim to provide the highest quality furnace services. If you are in need of a furnace expert in Northeast Ohio, call us today at 440-286-6002.