Inland Empire homeowners enjoy cool comfort when it’s hot outside and warmth during the winter all thanks to home heating and cooling systems. Have you ever wondered: “What are the components of an HVAC system?” Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating explains the parts of a residential HVAC system and how they work together to keep your home comfortable year-round.

What Are the Parts of an HVAC System?

The majority of Inland Empire homes have forced air heating and cooling systems. This means conditioned air is circulated throughout the home. HVAC systems consist of the thermostat, furnace, air conditioner (or a heat pump and air handler) and the duct system.

  • The thermostat runs the heating and cooling system. You set the temperature and mode, and the thermostat communicates these settings to the HVAC equipment, telling it when to start and stop. 
  • The duct system is the distribution network air uses to circulate throughout the home. The supply ducting is connected to the furnace or air handler and carries heated or cooled air from the HVAC equipment into the rooms. The return ducting allows air to move from the home back to the HVAC equipment so it can be reconditioned as needed.

Furnace and Air Conditioner System

The components of a heating and air conditioning system depend on the type of system you have. If your home has a heating and air conditioning system that uses a furnace and AC, here is how those components work.

  • A furnace burns fuel to create heat, which is then added to the air. The ignition system causes fuel to burn, creating heat within the heat exchanger. As air passes across the heat exchanger, it picks up heat energy. The blower motor pushes air through the system for heating and into your living areas for your comfort.
  • An air conditioner cools the home by removing excess heat. It contains both indoor and outdoor components. First, cool air comes into the indoor portion of the system and passes over the evaporator coil, which contains liquid refrigerant that absorbs heat and converts it to gas. Once heat is removed from the air, air circulates back into the home via the blower motor fan. The refrigerant gas travels to the outdoor condensing unit through connected refrigerant lines where it reaches the compressor within the outdoor equipment. The compressor increases refrigerant temperature and pressure before it travels to the condenser coil, which releases heat into the atmosphere outside. Refrigerant cools and converts back to a liquid, then travels back inside via refrigerant lines to repeat the process.

Heat Pump System

Most homeowners are familiar with the furnace and air conditioner setup mentioned above. Heat pump systems are an alternative that use an indoor air handler and outdoor heat pump unit. This type of HVAC system both heats and cools.

  • The air handler sits indoors and houses the indoor coil as well as the blower motor for circulating air.
  • The heat pump is the outdoor unit. The heat pump uses the same process as an air conditioner to cool the home, but is also capable of heating the home by reversing its operation. The coil in the outside unit holds refrigerant which absorbs heat from the surrounding air, then refrigerant flows through refrigerant lines to the indoor coil. Hot refrigerant heats the surface of the indoor coil, allowing the air circulating across it to absorb heat. The blower pushes air into the home, and refrigerant travels back to the outdoor unit to repeat the process.

Care for Your HVAC Components

It’s also important to think about the care of your heating and air conditioning system. The HVAC system is made up of mechanical equipment that requires maintenance care. Professional maintenance tune ups should be performed twice a year for both types of systems – the furnace and air conditioner receive one tune up each, while the heat pump is tuned up twice per year because it functions as both heating and cooling equipment.

In addition to maintenance, protect these systems by making repairs right away when any components stop working properly. Call Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating for expert diagnosis of HVAC problems and reliable repairs.