Understanding Home Heating and Cooling Systems
When you think of a cozy home, you think of a place where you can escape a bitterly-cold winter's day and a place where you can beat the summertime heat! However, we often take for granted the equipment that works year-round to keep us comfortable. Although that equipment may be out-of-sight and out-of-mind, we expect it to jump into action the moment we get too hot or too cold.
The moment our home's HVAC equipment starts to show signs of trouble, we panic. It happens at the worst time possible and when we least expect it. Maybe the furnace quits working while we're out of town and we come home to a huge mess from pipes that burst. Or, the air conditioner dies during a record-breaking heat wave, making it unbearable inside our home. In any case, understanding how HVAC equipment works may help to keep us safe from extreme weather, but also from scammers looking to take advantage.
When the time inevitably comes for a replacement, you'll be prepared to select the best HVAC equipment for your home.
What Does HVAC Mean?
The term "HVAC" is an acronym that stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. These three important tasks keep your home pleasant by regulating temperature, humidity, and air quality.
HVAC equipment differs depending on where you live. For most of the country, a central air conditioner/furnace combination is the most common. In warmer climates, heat-pumps/air handlers and packaged units tend to be more prevalent.
How Do Central Forced-Air Systems Work?
Image: Goodman Manufacturing
A forced-air system is best characterized by the series of ducts running throughout the home. Most equipment is installed in a central location within the house that forces the air throughout; hence the name: Central Forced-Air.
Types of Central HVAC Equipment
Basic components that make up home heating and cooling systems differ throughout the country. Learn more about each type of system below:
- Gas Furnace
- Heat Pump
- Packaged Unit (an all-in-one a/c and furnace unit)
- Air Conditioner
The supply air ducts run from the blower (inside centrally-located furnace or air handler) and terminate at individual registers throughout the home. The return ducts balance the system out with strategically placed vents that feed back into the furnace or air handler where the unconditioned air is re-conditioned and circulated again. This type of system is very efficient because it allows for a rapid exchange rate of air that conditions and cleans the air in your home.
If you have questions about HVAC equipment or need help putting together a package, our experts are ready to help.
Central Forced-Air Buyer's Guide