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Understanding How Different Heating & Cooling Systems Work

Knowing some industry jargons like SEER and EER isn’t enough when it comes to HVAC ownership. Understanding how different heating and cooling distribution systems work means half the battle. Read on to help you better understand your HVAC system better.

Forced Air Systems

Forced air systems rely on air as heat transfer medium. These units depend on vents, plenums and ductwork to distribute air, separate from the heating and air cooling system. In a forced air conditioning system, hot air is pushed through one set of air ducts and cold air is delivered through another set, depending on whether you’re using your AC or your furnace. Blowout is the most common issue in a forced air system.

Gravity Systems

Gravity heating systems are based on the principle that hot air rises, while cold air sinks. This means that gravity systems can’t be used along with your AC unit. When turned on, the gravity furnace, which is positioned in your basement, burns oil and gas to generate heat. The heat is then vented through the ductwork to your home’s top level in order to use the natural properties of gravity. This hot air escapes the vent as it travels up and distributes heat in your indoor space.

Radiant Systems

Radiant heating and cooling systems are unique from typical HVAC units because they cool or heat surfaces instead of air. The cool or warm air then releases heat to your home. Most commonly, radiant systems are used in heating implements such as radiators, which distribute heat throughout your room. Just like gravity systems, the main downside of radiant systems is that they cannot be used in conjunction with your AC.

Understanding how your HVAC system works goes a long way. Tap your local HVAC contractor to learn more about different heating and cooling systems.