If you’ve never been directly involved in choosing or operating a residential HVAC system, you’ll be better equipped to do so with a little basic knowledge about how these systems work. Following is some information on how these systems work, which will help in choosing a new HVAC system for your home.
Home Heating Systems
Across most of the country, furnaces fueled by natural gas, propane or heating oil are the most common heating system, with other types including electric baseboard, heat pump and radiant heating.
By far the most popular, the gas furnace produces heated air when blower fans draw household air into the furnace. Here a pilot light or electronic ignition system ignites gas coming from a burner. The flames heat up metal in the heat exchanger, which in turn heats up the air. That heated air is then circulated through ductwork to vents and registers throughout the house. Air returns to the furnace through return ductwork.
Home Cooling Systems
For home cooling, the air conditioner is by far the most popular option, though there are many types of A/C options. In the most common system, the split-system central A/C, the technology producing cooled air is similar to a refrigerator. A highly reactive chemical solution called refrigerant is used to extract heat from an area and then move it to another where it’s dispersed into the air. In an A/C, this heat exchange occurs in the inside evaporator/air handler, with the removal of heat energy resulting in cooling.
As in heating, the cool air is distributed by a powerful fan through ducts and registers. Gaseous refrigerant takes the heat energy outside to the condenser/compressor unit where it’s released into the surrounding air. The cooling mode of a heat pump uses the same technology.
In both central cooling and heating systems, a thermostat signals when the system should kick on and continue operating until a set temperature has been reached.
While HVAC technology is much more complicated than this, these are the basics. For help choosing a new HVAC system, contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal in northwest Arkansas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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