Understanding Your Heating and Cooling System


Nov 18, 2016

Heating and Cooling Equipment 101

The HVAC industry has changed tremendously throughout the years. From the invention of home air conditioning in 1914 to the banning of Freon in many countries in the 1990s, each decade has seen strides in how efficiently we are heating and cooling our homes. However, we still have a way to go in order to reduce overall energy consumption. The below infographic by The Refrigeration School shows that 48% of all home energy costs can be attributed to heating and cooling. Understanding how your HVAC system works and how to maintain it can help you lower your energy usage and utility bills. 

Basic Principles of Heating and Cooling

Heating systems in a home are traditionally reliant on a heat pump, a furnace, or a boiler. A heat pump is powered by electricity and pulls air from the outside to warm the inside of the house. Furnaces and boilers are similar in the way that they can both be powered by oil, gas, or electricity. A furnace channels hot air through ducts and pipes while a boiler heats up hot water and channels it through embedded pipes.

For air conditioning, warm air is cooled by coils within the air conditioning unit and then channeled through a home’s duct system or straight from the unit. 

Types of Heating and Cooling Systems

There are variations on the type of HVAC systems found within a home. For instance, a ductless system can be used to provide air conditioning to areas of a home where ductwork cannot be installed. In these types of systems, an indoor unit works in conjunction with an outdoor unit. A split system is a type of HVAC unit where components are placed indoors and outdoors. A geothermal system taps into underground temperatures as a way to better control indoor temperatures.

Heating and Cooling Maintenance

Homeowners can perform monthly to yearly maintenance on their HVAC systems to get extended use and avoid common issues. Filters should be cleaned or replaced monthly. Coils and the heat exchanger should be cleaned yearly to remove any buildup of dirt and debris. Annually, check the seals of all pipes and air ducts.

Heating and Cooling Troubleshooting

HVAC professionals should be called to assist on most home heating and cooling system problems. However, checking the thermostat settings and replacing new batteries may help quickly resolve some unit problems. Removing clogs from drain channels with a wire brush can sometimes stop issues with high humidity in the house. Cleaning or replacing dirty filters can help with any airflow problems in the system.

Energy Saving Tips

Setting a programmable thermostat, using drapes to control sunlight, and upgrading old HVAC systems are just a few examples of how you can reduce your carbon footprint. Most importantly, remember to look for the Energy Star symbol when purchasing any new home heating and cooling products.

Check out the infographic below for more facts and tips about HVAC maintenance and energy savings.

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