While forced-air HVAC systems use different technology to either heat or cool your home, you’d be surprised at how many HVAC components work together in a whole-house system. This is a good thing since it means a lot of required maintenance steps help both functions, heating and cooling.

Both the beginning and end of the heating and cooling processes use many of the same HVAC components. The middle process – the actual heating or cooling – is where the technologies diverge.

The Beginning

In both heating and cooling, household air is drawn into the equipment (furnace, heat pump or air conditioner) by a powerful fan, either part of the furnace blower or an air handling component of an A/C or heat pump.

The Middle

This is where the process differs for heating and cooling. For heating with a combustion furnace, the blower fan draws air into the combustion chamber where ignited natural gas, fuel oil or propane heats it. A heat pump and A/C use the same refrigeration technology to provide cooling. As air passes over an evaporator coil, refrigerant inside the coil is converting from a liquid to a gas, a process that absorbs heat from the surrounding air. That cools the air. When a heat pump is providing heat, it uses the same process as for cooling, but just reverses the indoor heat exchange from evaporation to condensation, which releases heat into the air.

The End

The process after household air is heated or cooled is the same in both processes. The conditioned air is blown through supply ducts to all the rooms in the house, coming out through registers. Spent air is drawn into return registers and then, with help from the same fan that circulated the conditioned air, is drawn back to the equipment via return ductwork. If you have problems with air distribution during the heating process, you’ll likely have the same problems during cooling.

For more help understanding how your HVAC components work together (and apart) to provide comfort in your eastern North Carolina home, please contact us at Jackson & Sons Heating & Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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