Air Conditioning System: How Does My Cooling System Also Heat My House?

The Invention of The Furnace

The first natural gas furnace was invented by Alice H. Parker and patented in 1919. She was looking to create a central heating option for homeowners that worked more efficiently than burning coal or wood.

Her exact specifications in the patent were not fully adopted, but her design forms the basis for most modern-day gas furnaces. Her design created a system allowing people to customize their temperatures and included a heat exchanger, burners, and ducts similar to what we see in furnaces today.

The Invention of Air Conditioning

The first air conditioner was invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier. The history of air conditioning started with a problem. Willis Haviland Carrier, an American engineer, was experimenting with humidity control to help with humidity issues caused in his printing plant in Brooklyn, New York. He used concepts of mechanical refrigeration, invented by John Gorrie decades before, and eventually created the first modern air conditioner. His designs originated with a belt-driven condenser, compressor, evaporator coil, coolant, and mechanical controls, which ultimately turned into modern air conditioning as it is known today. He founded the Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, which ultimately produced cooling systems for both residential and commercial use. Carrier Corporation continues to make modern air conditioners for the 20th century.

How The Two Systems Work Together

Your air conditioner and your furnace comprise your HVAC system and work together to deliver warm and cooled air into your home. During the colder months, the furnace will perform the function of heating the house, and in the warmer months, the air conditioner can be turned on to cool it down. Both systems will use the same ductwork to deliver air to your home and be controlled by the same thermostat.

If you have a humidifier attached to your furnace, you will want to make sure to lower it or turn it off when the warmer weather hits, as once you switch your system over to air conditioning, your AC unit will work to dehumidify the air, since humidity levels typically rise in the hotter months.

Since both systems are equally important to the comfort of your home, having regular maintenance done on both is crucial. If you have an HVAC maintenance plan, your HVAC technician will likely come out twice a year. They will come in the fall to service your furnace and in the spring to service your air conditioner.

Goodman forced air package

The Difference Between Forced and Central Air 

A forced air system is an HVAC system that moves temperature-controlled air into the home through a series of ducts and vents, such as a furnace or a heat pump. A central air conditioning system is its own system that uses a closed loop of refrigerated air, which is then delivered into the home as cool air. While the two systems are independent, they utilize the same ductwork for a delivery system.

Forced Air System

Forced air heating systems are one of the most commonly used options for heating and air cooling. In these systems, the heat will be produced by a forced air furnace and the cold air by a separate central air conditioner that will use the same distribution system. A blower will move the air through the ductwork in the home, where it will be delivered to the various rooms until the desired house temperature is reached. In the winter, the warmed air from the furnace will be distributed out, and as it cools, it will return through the return vents to be reheated. Forced air systems run well with regular maintenance but sometimes have blower issues, leading to more costly repairs.

Gravity System

Hot air will rise, and cold air will fall. That is the premise behind gravity systems. Gravity systems will not push cool air from an air conditioner. With these systems, a furnace is installed near or below the floor and relies on the heat rising and flowing from the ducts in the home to heat the entire house. The ductwork will be higher in homes with the furnace system on the main floor so the heated air can still travel up.

Once the heated air has reached the ceiling, it will cool and sink, entering the return air ducts and returning to the furnace to be reheated.

Radiant Systems

Radiant systems are designed to warm your home by heating the floors, ceilings, floors, or through radiators in the room. As heat is generated from these areas, the room's temperature will increase. These systems often use electric heating panels and are more common in regions where electricity costs are less. Unlike more traditional systems, radiant systems will not distribute cool air and do not have an air conditioning component.

Radiant systems can often be found in older homes with a hot water heating system that will circulate heated water to the radiators. They can also be found in more modern homes. But in these cases, they will typically be built into a slab foundation, using a network of pipes that will heat the floors. Since heat rises, the heat from the floor will begin to fill the room, getting it to the desired temperature. While these homes can be nice if you enjoy heated floors, they can be hard and more costly to fix if one of the pipes gets clogged with mineral buildup.

The Benefits of a Connected HVAC System

Connected HVAC systems are one of the most commonly found heating and cooling systems in residences. They are popular with homeowners for a wide range of reasons, ranging from better consistency in temperature to more convenient maintenance. Below are some of the best benefits you can enjoy when you choose a connected system.

Energy Bill Savings

An HVAC system can help you reduce your energy consumption by allowing you to regulate the temperature in your home better. Other heating and cooling options typically run constantly throughout the day, which can significantly increase monthly utility bills. Also, if working correctly, most HVAC systems are highly efficient, which can translate into even higher savings.

Improved Air Quality

Your connected HVAC system can also help to improve your home’s indoor air quality. Your HVAC system will help to filter out common contaminants in the house, such as dust, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens. This will help reduce allergy triggers as well as reduce your risk of respiratory issues. Additionally, your system will allow you to maintain the proper humidity levels in your home, making it more comfortable, especially for those with asthma.

Consistent temperatures

One of the most significant benefits of an HVAC system is enjoying a consistent temperature throughout your home. You can set your temperature to where you want it, and your system will turn on and off as needed to keep it there. You won’t have to worry about hot or cold spots around your home or waiting for your home to get a comfortable temperature.

Future Investment

An HVAC system is an excellent investment for a home. Not only will you see long-term savings on your overall energy costs, but it can also increase the value of your home when it comes to sell it. With proper care, you can expect your system to last between 15 to 20 years, making it more than worth the initial cost.

The Difference Between a Heat Pump and Furnace

While furnaces have been one of the most popular ways to heat your home for decades, heat pumps are increasing in popularity, especially in areas with more temperate weather. Both systems have an average lifespan of 15 years with proper maintenance, but each has its pros and cons.

Heat pumps work by transferring heat, whereas furnaces will generate it. A traditional gas furnace will generate heat by burning natural gas. Heat pumps follow a thermodynamic principle that is different. In the colder months, the system will draw heat from the outside air and transfer it inside your home. During the warmer months, the process is reversed, and the system will absorb the heat from inside via refrigerant lines and release the heat outside.

Heat pumps are growing in popularity as they are incredibly energy-efficient, require less space, and can heat and cool your home with just one system. The main drawbacks to a heat pump are that it can be a little noisy and not as efficient in extreme cold.

replacing ac outside

Replacing Your AC Without Replacing The Furnace

In many cases, both your furnace and air conditioning system will be installed simultaneously, but there are some instances when this may not occur. Suppose you choose to add air conditioning later on, or your air conditioning system needs replacement. In that case, you may be wondering whether it is best to replace the furnace along with it or if replacing the AC unit alone would be the best option.

Whether or not to replace your furnace with your air conditioner will depend on a few considerations. You may find it a good idea to replace the furnace as well if:

  • Your furnace is older than 12 years: Once your furnace has reached its 12-year mark, it is likely not operating as efficiently as it once was. It will also not likely operate at the efficiency level of the new air conditioner you purchase. Mis-matching the efficiency levels on the two appliances could decrease the lifespan of your newer system and make your overall heating and cooling less efficient than it could be.
  • Your new air conditioner does not match your furnace: Furnaces and air conditioners use the same air handler and are designed to work together. The compatibility with these systems is greater when they are made by the same manufacturing company.
  • Your furnace has had many repairs: Furnace repair can be expensive, and it will get worse the older your system gets. If you are investing in a new air conditioner, it may also be an excellent time to purchase a new furnace. That way, both appliances will be under warranty and hopefully not need any repairs for some time.

There are also reasons why you may not want to replace your furnace when you get a new air conditioner.

  • Your furnace is just a couple of years old: If your air conditioning unit breaks and is cheaper to replace than repair and your furnace is only a few years old, you might want to consider hanging onto it for now. It is likely to still function well, may have some time left on its warranty, and is probably a reasonably efficient model.
  • It would put a strain on your budget: While installing a new furnace when you install a new air conditioning system may make your system more efficient and lower your energy bills if paying for it puts a strain on your budget, it may be best to wait until you are in a better financial situation.

It is important to note that you will likely be able to save some money if you install a new furnace with your new air conditioning unit because the labor cost will be less, and you may see a reduction in price by buying them both. On average, a furnace by itself will run around $2,500 to $6,500 installed. An air conditioning system alone will run between $4,000 and $8,000 on average. But if you were to buy and install them together, you would likely pay around $5,000 to $10,000.

Your New Air Conditioner is Waiting for You at Superior Home Supplies

Are you looking to upgrade your current air conditioning unit with a more energy-efficient one? Is your current AC unit costing more to repair than replace? Superior Home Supplies is the air conditioning system supplier you are looking for. Whether you are looking for a room air conditioner, a window unit, or a split system, at Superior Home Supplies, we have the top brands and system features, allowing you to find the perfect system to fit your home needs.

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