Operation of a gas furnace includes a set of furnace burners. Located at the front of the furnace’s heat exchanger, the furnace burners serve to mix air with fuel (usually natural gas or propane) as they are burned. Burners are generally designed to pull air in through venturi action as the fuel blows through an orifice at the entrance to the burner.
As the fuel/air mixture burns at the end of the burner, it is directed into the tubes of the heat exchanger. The flames and heat from the hot gases flow through the heat exchanger and heat it up. This hot exchanger dissipates its heat into the air circulating around it. The air is moved by a supply fan located inside the furnace. This air is used to heat the space the furnace serves.
Furnace burners must be kept clean and free of debris and rust. Ever notice that “funny smell” like something is burning at the start of the cold season when your furnace first starts up? That is dust being burned off from sitting all summer. The furnace needs to be maintained by keeping it clean. Inspect the burners a few times a year for misalignment, excess dirt, rust or signs of moisture.
Preventive maintenance should be performed a few times a year, including cleaning the burners and changing the filter. Also inspect venting, and associated ductwork for problems. Cleaning and inspecting a furnace will help it last longer and run more efficiently, saving money on energy and costly repairs.