How Heating and Cooling Systems Work
Most homeowners don’t think too much about their heating and cooling systems until they stop working. But having a contractor perform regular maintenance on the system is the best way to keep it running smoothly and minimize your downtime. It also helps to have basic knowledge about how the system works so that you can give repair technicians an idea about what might be wrong before they come out to service your heating and cooling system.
There are three main components of heating and cooling systems: a source of processed air, a method for sending the air from the main source throughout the house, and a thermostat. In most cases, the furnace and air conditioner use the same ductwork to send air throughout the house. Usually the same thermostat is used for both sources of air as well. When there is any kind of a problem with the heating and cooling system, any of the system components could be the source of the issue.
The most basic principle to understand about heating and cooling systems is that they both work the same way. Both of them are designed with the idea that heat moves from something that is warm to something that is cold. In other words, it moves away from the source of heat. This is why furnaces blow hot air in order to heat up your home. But air conditioners work under the same principle. They actually pull hot air out of your home so that it will cool off.
It’s also important to realize that every system that heats or cools your home has to burn some type of fuel. Air conditioners burn electricity, while furnaces may use electricity or gas. A heat pump runs on electricity and performs both heating and cooling functions.
While any of these units is turned on, it’s consuming whatever type of fuel it uses. This causes the hot or cool air to be produced and pushed out to the various parts of your home, usually through air ducts. After passing through the ducts, the air then comes out into the rooms via heat panels, radiators, or registers. Some systems heat water and use it to warm up your home. In this type of system, there are pipes in the walls of your home that heat up when the water inside them is heated.
Air conditioners work by cooling a gas that’s inside of them until it reaches its liquid state. As air meets up with the unit, it cools off and then is pushed through the ducts for delivery into the various rooms of your home.
The entire system is controlled by a thermostat, which works according to the temperature that’s around it. So if your thermostat is located in your main living room, then it is that room’s temperature that will have an effect on the rest of your home. Other parts of your home might be warmer or cooler depending on how far they are from the thermostat. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, it’s a good idea to invest in one because they can save you a lot of money on your heating and cooling bill by changing the temperature automatically at different times of the day.