Many homes around town use a furnace for hot (and cold) air throughout their homes. What started a long time ago as a simple gravity fed and coal fired monster that resembled a cross between an iron lung and an octopus has evolved into a computer controlled, high efficiency piece of modern technology.
I remember when my company Main Street Theatres was operating the old Oriental Theatre over on 44th and Tennyson. The theatre was heated by a boiler that was the size of a locomotive. When that beast fired up, one glance inside and you knew that the Public Service bill was going to hefty. I’m pretty sure it would have been cheaper (and probably more efficient) to burn dollar bills.
I recently switch my home furnace over to a high efficiency unit. It cost close to $5000 to upgrade my furnace. This furnace uses a DC motor that runs all of the time, constantly moving air through the house . Oddly enough, this is the recommended setting. I knew exactly when my old 1970’s furnace was starting up. It would kind of rumble and in a few minutes warm air would blast out of my ducts like a hair dryer set on high. Now, it just happens seamlessly… with no drama. I forget that it’s even working, but my house is warm. So, something must be happening. I still haven’t figured out if I’m saving money.
If you’re interested in an excellent explanation of modern furnaces, spend a moment with this article from Green Building Advisor.