Intro to Heating and Cooling Systems—Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

Except for occasionally changing the air filters, many homeowners give little thought to the workings of their home’s heating and cooling systems. Learning a little about your home’s HVAC system, however, can help you maximize the efficiency of your equipment and may assist you in troubleshooting in the event of a system malfunction.

Heating and cooling systems all have three basic components:
* A source of warmed or cooled air
* A distribution system to get the air to the rooms being heated or cooled
* A control used to regulate the system


Heating and cooling systems function according to the principle that heat always moves from a warm object to a cooler one. As furnaces burn fuel, heat is generated. This heat is transferred to the cooler air in a room, thereby warming the room. Air conditioners bring warm air into contact with a cooling coil, so heat is drawn away from the air. The cooled air then re-enters the rooms of the home, cooling them to a comfortable temperature.

Air Distribution Systems

Once heated or cooled at the source, air is distributed to the rooms of the house via one of three options:
* Forced-Air Systems—An electrically powered fan, also called a blower, channels heated or cooled air throughout a house via ducts and registers
* Gravity Systems—A system based on the principle that warm air rises, the gravity system only works with heated air. Furnaces located near or below the floor heat the air, which then flows toward the ceiling, warming the room as it rises. When it cools, the air sinks back to the floor, returning to the furnace to be reheated.
* Radiant Systems—Like gravity systems, radiant systems of air distribution can only be used with heated air. Radiant systems commonly warm walls, ceilings and floors—or alternatively, radiators in the rooms—and these objects warm the surrounding air.

System Control

Finally, a heat-sensitive switch called a thermostat acts as the system’s control by regulating the temperature inside the home. Thermostats respond to changes in the air temperature close to where they are located, turning the furnace or air conditioner off and on as necessary to maintain the desired room temperature indicated by the set point.

For more information about heating and cooling systems for your home or business, visit Eck Heating & Cooling, Inc. is well known for their expertise in repairing and installing all types of HVAC equipment and has maintained a reputation of high quality, dependable service for more than 115 years. You can also follow them on Facebook.

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Author: Myrtice Lovett

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