Your home is full of moving parts. From dishwashers to dryers to refrigerators, all of the appliances that make your life run are intricate systems. Many homeowners feel confident in their understanding of how most of the systems in their homes operate, but air conditioning and heating systems are more complex than one might think.
As a homeowner, you may have questions about how HVAC works. Understanding the mysteries behind your home’s HVAC system can help you make better decisions when it comes to equipment purchasing and maintenance. Read on for a breakdown of the parts of your HVAC system and how HVAC cooling and heating work.
What Are the Parts of My HVAC System?
As you move forward with selecting the HVAC system that works best for you, you may encounter a few different setups, but the major components are largely the same. For purposes of this article, we are going to focus on air-based systems rather than hot water baseboards. So, what are the parts of an HVAC system?
The thermostat is the brains of the operation, and it is often the most visible part of your system. The thermostat allows you to manually set or program the desired temperature for your home. If the temperature in your house gets too cold or too hot, the thermostat communicates with the rest of your HVAC system to start circulating air and change the ambient temperature.
The air conditioning units outside of your home are condenser units, and they are fed with refrigerant gas via refrigerant lines. The condenser turns that gas into liquid and gets it ready for cooling down your home.
The evaporator coil takes the liquid from the condenser unit and turns it back into refrigerant gas, cooling down air and pumping it through your home in the process.
The furnace does the opposite work of a condenser unit. Rather than cool down your home, the furnace heats up air and distributes that air via piping or ductwork. Furnaces are fired by various heat sources, such as heat pumps, combustion, solar energy, and more.
How Does My HVAC Work?
All of the parts above work together to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but your heating and your cooling systems operate in different ways.
Your heating system has your furnace at its center. Within the furnace, a system of burners create combustion gasses. This fuel enters a heat exchanger, which heats air from an air intake up to the temperature that your thermostat is calling for. Then, a blower takes that air and blows it through a system of ducts and vents throughout your home to warm each room up. If you have an electric furnace, the same process takes place via a system of conductive coils.
In contrast, your cooling system is primarily powered by your condenser unit. The air from your home is pulled into the condenser and is blown across the evaporator coil. Filled with liquid refrigerant, the evaporator coil transfers its cold energy to the air, cooling it in the process. The refrigerant is then pumped back into the condenser, and its warmth is blown outside of your home while cool air is blown inside.
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