The most common heating system in the U.S. is a forced air furnace, and for good reason. It’s one of the easiest to install and maintain, and today’s furnaces offer solid energy efficiency and comfort.

Most furnaces use natural gas as the fuel, and it’s delivered through a pipe that enters your home. The gas enters the burner through a valve, and it’s ignited by a pilot light. Older furnaces typically employ a standing pilot light that burns continuously. Newer systems have devices that ignite the pilot only when the system needs to run, saving fuel.

A heat exchanger sits beside the combustion chamber and it absorbs the heat. When it gets hot enough, a switch triggers the blower motor to turn on, pushing air over the heat exchanger, and entering the ductwork. When the temperature reaches the thermostat’s setting, the forced air furnace turns off.

Although it’s simple, one of the most important parts of the furnace is its air filter, which removes airborne particulates such as dust, pollen, dander and other contaminants. The filter keeps the parts inside the furnace clean, as well as the ductwork that delivers the conditioned air. The filter also improves the quality of the air inside your home.

The ducts may run through the attic, the basement, or the walls. They can be made from metal that’s insulated or from flexible materials. The design and integrity of the ductwork is just as important to the functioning of the furnace as the efficiency of the furnace itself.


  • A forced air system heats homes quickly.
  • It can have high efficiency in converting fuel to heat, measured by its AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency). Some forced air furnaces use technology that can make them nearly 100 percent efficient.
  • The furnace may house the indoor components required for central cooling.
  • It’s easy to zone a home to customize the amount of heat delivered to each segment of the building. Zones use individual ductwork dampers and thermostats to manage the heat (or cooling) that each part of your home receives.

To learn more about a forced air furnace for your home in the greater Cleveland area, please contact us at Stack Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about forced air furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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