Furnace and A/C FAQ's

Ever wondered what a Heat Exchanger is? Or how it works to keep your home warm? Or why is the Air Conditioner coil connected to the furnace? What does SEER mean? Or wondered if you should get a humidifier vs. a dehumidifier? We have those answers.

Let’s start with the heat exchanger, what is it and how do you know if it is having issues? Well the heat exchanger is the most important component of your furnace. It is under extreme high temperatures and it is from the heat exchanger that all the air that comes through your ductwork is heated. That hot air that is formed in the heat exchanger is then blown into the duct work and out the registers. The heat exchanger is actually a set of tubes that are looped repeatedly through the air flow area or cabinet area of your furnace. Different models of furnaces have different types of heat exchangers but it is the most important part of your homes heating system. If your heat exchanger is cracked, has a hole or some other form of damage of some sort your furnace needs to be replaced. The reasons are very simple, your furnace runs on some sort of combustion from either natural gas or propane and that combustion or burning can give off harmful gases that are normally contained inside the heat exchanger. If there is a crack or hole, those gases can escape and sicken your family. Regular furnace maintenance is important as your HVAC tech can spot any changes that are taking place in your furnace including the health of the heat exchanger

The next question is why is the A/C evaporator coil connected to the furnace? It seems a little counterproductive right? The evaporator coil is actually mounted on top or next to the furnace and uses the furnace fan to push the cooler air through the house. It doesn’t actually use the furnace, only the fan. The main work horse of your A/C unit is the compressor which sits outside and pumps the refrigerant through the lines into the coil, the coil then piggybacks off of the furnace fan and cools your home making all the units work in tandem.

SEER is a term you may hear when someone is talking about Air Conditioning and you may have wondered what it stands for, it stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and in the simplest terms it measures how efficient your Air Conditioning is. The higher the SEER number is the more efficiently your system runs.

Last question, what is the difference between a humidifier and a dehumidifier? Most professionals agree that for good health a Relative Humidity of 30% to 50% in your home is ideal. But how do you go about getting that? Well if you don’t live in an area that has perfect humidity, you can either add a humidifier to your HVAC system or a dehumidifier. If you live in a fairly dry area of the country like the Southwest you might want to add a humidifier, especially as A/C units are very drying. If you live in a very rainy or humid part of the country, such as the Pacific Northwest or the Deep South where the air can drip with humidity you are most likely going to want to install a dehumidifier to remove that excessive humidity from your home.  So if the house is too dry add a humidifier, too much humidity, add a dehumidifier.

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