Home Heating and Cooling 101
A central heating and cooling system produces warm or cool air in one central area and then distributes it throughout the home. There are many types of systems that work as central systems, from traditional split systems to packaged product systems.
Products typically used in central heating and cooling systems include:
Heating systems keep your home warm and comfortable. If you live in a particularly cold climate, the function of your heating system is a high priority.
Most central heating and cooling systems are classified as forced air systems, because they send air through ductwork for distribution. The ductwork can contain products that filter or clean the air.
Radiant systems create heat and deliver it via components such as radiators that radiate the heat into the home. Boilers are a traditional radiant heat source.
Typical heating products include:
Whole-home air conditioning systems are central systems that rely on ducts to deliver cooled air throughout the home. An air-conditioning system provides cooling, ventilation, humidity control and even heating (if using a Heat Pump) for a home. Air conditioning units cool refrigerants like Puron® Refrigerant and deliver them to evaporator coils, over which air is then blown to be cooled and ultimately directed through the ducts throughout the home.
Typical air conditioning products include:
The term thermostat commonly refers to any unit that controls the operation of a heating and cooling system. Thermostats are used to turn on heating or cooling systems to bring the home to a set temperature. In addition to basic temperature control, programmable thermostats can be used to manage the timing of the system’s functions, which can control overall energy use and costs.
Learn more about the many aspects of heating and cooling, including the types of systems available, how to find the ideal system for your home, how indoor air quality impacts your home, how energy efficiency can save you money, how heating and cooling impacts the environment, and the many terms and phrases of heating and cooling.
Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.
A typical maintenance check-up should include the following.
1. Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
2. Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
3. Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
4. Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
5. Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
1. Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
2. Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
3. Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.
Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
Actions To Do Yourself
Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure