When it comes to the comfort level our homes have to offer, both heating and air conditioning systems play an essential role. In the simplest of terms, the heating system keeps our homes warm during the cold season, while the air conditioning is responsible for maintaining a cool atmosphere in the summer or when it is warm outside.
Both heating and air conditioning systems are organized on the same principles and share common characteristics. As any specialist in climate control units will tell, these systems have three primary components. The first refers to the source of air (warmed or cooled), while the air distribution system represents the second. Last, but not least, you have the system regulation control, which is often present in the form of a thermostat.
It is common for climate control units to use the same distribution and control systems for warm and cold air. For example, in your home, you can have a furnace and an air conditioning unit. The stove will warm your home, while the air conditioning will cool it, all the while using the same systems mentioned above. If you opt for central air conditioning, you might be surprised to discover that the cool air will flow through the heat ducts; moreover, the system will rely on the same thermostat for heating.
Principle of Functioning
All modern heating and air conditioning systems function by a simple, yet highly-effective principle. This states that the nearby warm object will always heat a cold object. Given this principle, it can be easy to understand that heating systems, such as furnaces, will warm the air into a home by putting heat into it. On the other hand, air conditioning systems will work to remove the heat and cool the inside of your home.
It goes without saying that both heating and cooling units rely on different types of fuel to function. Home heating systems use gas or oil, but also electricity. Air conditioning units use power. Climate control units, which can be used for both heating and cooling, can use all three of the fuel as mentioned above types.
A heat pump is one of the most popular climate control units, being electrically-powered. When it is hot outside, it will work to extract the excess heat from the air and cool your home. During the cold season and especially in the winter, it will take heat from the outside air and make your home warmer.
A furnace can use gas, oil or electricity as fuel. When this fuel is burned, it will produce heat, which will then be distributed throughout your home, either through pipes, ducts or even wires. Radiators, registers and heating panels represent the final point of distribution.
Older heating units use a boiler to heat a certain amount of water, which is then used to heat the air inside a home. What happens is that the boiler heats and stores the water, which is then distributed through the pipes. These pipes can be embedded in the floors, on the walls or even on the ceiling.
As already mentioned, air conditioning systems use electricity; they rely on this type of fuel, to cool a gas until it reaches its liquid state. When warm air comes into contact with this, it will become cool. The cool air is then distributed through the ducts or directly from the air conditioning unit into your home.
Mechanism of Functioning
By the arrangement of operation, there are three major types of climate control units (heating and cooling possible):
- Forced Air System = heat/cool air from furnace/air conditioning system distributed through a blower and system of ducts
- Gravity System = suitable for heating, based on the principle that warm air will always rise (heat from furnace)
- Radiant System = radiant heat distribution, often uses electricity as the fuel and warms up radiators, walls, floors or ceilings
If you are interested in installing a climate control unit in your home, it is for the best to resort to professional assistance. Whether you are looking for a heating system, air conditioning unit or both, a professional can offer both expert advice and assist you with the installation and maintenance.