It’s a common misconception that a home’s heating and cooling systems operate on separate tracks, using different HVAC components and equipment. Yet, in a great majority of residential forced-air heating and cooling systems, each “side” shares components. While this means a malfunctioning component likely will impact both heating and cooling, it also means that routine maintenance will have a beneficial effect on both. Learn how each function of your HVAC system operates separately and together.
In both heating and cooling, the process starts with a powerful fan drawing household air into the equipment. Here the processes diverge…
In both an air conditioner and a heat pump, refrigerant is forced to transition from a liquid to a gas in an evaporator coil inside the house. This evaporation absorbs heat energy from the air, which has a cooling effect. The refrigerant is pumped outside where the heat is released from a condensing coil and a fan sends it into the surrounding air.
In a natural gas, propane or oil furnace, the air is drawn into a combustion chamber where it’s heated by ignited gas or oil. In a heat pump, refrigerant inside the condensing coil within the house is forced to change from a gas to a liquid, a process that releases heat energy into household air.
Air Circulation and Distribution
In a forced-air central HVAC system, once the air is heated or cooled, a fan blows it through a network of supply ducts throughout the house, then the conditioned air is delivered to rooms via supply vents or registers. The same fan that delivered the conditioned air in the first place draws spent air into return registers and ducts, which route it back to the HVAC equipment to be heated or cooled all over again.
Shared components of an integrated heating and cooling system usually include the blower fan, ductwork, registers and air filter. In systems with whole-house air-cleaning equipment, those components also work for both cooling and heating.
For more help understanding how the HVAC components work together in your Calgary area home, please contact us at Arpi’s Industries.
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