A high-quality forced-air system can keep your home comfortable reliably year after year. Every now and then, though, something may go wrong and you’ll need to do a little troubleshooting. When that happens, it’s useful to know exactly how your forced-air heating system works. Other times, you may decide an extra component, such as a humidifier, will improve your home’s comfort level.
Your system starts with the thermostat. The thermostat signals the forced-air system to turn on when your home’s temperature falls below the level the thermostat is set for. What happens next depends on the type of system you have.
Fuel-burning furnace – The blower fan in the furnace unit draws in cool air through the return ducts. The gas valve allows gas to be released into the burner. The burner burns the fuel inside the combustion chamber, creating hot combustion gases. The hot gases then travel through the heat exchanger. Air is warmed as it passes over the heat exchanger.
Heat pump – The fan in the outdoor unit draws air in over the coils. Liquid refrigerant in the coils absorbs heat from the air and expands into a vapor. The refrigerant vapor passes through a compressor that increases its temperature, then flows to the indoor coils. Air from the indoor blower picks up heat from the refrigerant vapor in the coils. The refrigerant vapor condenses into a liquid again and flows back to the outdoor coils. To cool your home, the heat pump works in reverse, taking heat from indoors and transferring it outdoors.
In both systems, once the air is warm, the blower fan moves the air out into the supply ductwork. The warm air enters your rooms through registers on the floors or ceilings.As the furnace continues to run, it draws room air in through return grilles, usually located on the walls.
The HVAC air filter is another important part of your system. A dirty filter reduces your system’s efficiency and places unnecessary wear on the motor. To protect your system, check the filter monthly and change it when it looks dirty.
For expert advice on optimizing your home’s forced-air system or installing additional components, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.. Since the early 1950s, we’ve been providing reliable HVAC services in the Greater Cleveland area, including Lorain County.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about forced air systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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