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In a recent paper published by Cornell University, the average national cost of central heating is 30 cents or more of every energy dollar. If your system seems to be working harder to accomplish the same job it once did, it may be a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be addressed. Understanding the basics of your central heating system will help you troubleshoot problems and keep your unit operating smoothly.

Two Basic Types

Central heating units work by moving air or liquids through conduits. In a fluid system, the heat is distributed via radiators. The fluid is usually water, heated at the furnace and then circulated throughout the home. In systems that use heated air, an air handler circulates air through vents to raise the ambient temperature. Both types can use a variety of fuel sources, including electricity, fuel oil, and gas.

Primary System Parts

In a typical air-source central heating system, each heated area will have a vent which flows into the room, called a supply, and another which allows air to travel back to the air handler, called a return. Although some systems can be complicated, the basic central heating components are few:

  • Furnace – Where the air or fluid is heated.
  • Air Handler or Pump – How the air or fluid is distributed.
  • Ducts or Pipes – Method for moving the heated air or fluid.
  • Radiators – Transfers heat from liquid to the rooms or end-points.

Calculating System Performance

Furnace manufacturing, environmental laws and other aspects push older furnaces into obsolescence after about 15 to 20 years. If it is time to consider having a new system installed, we at Howard Air would be happy to help you determine the make and model which works best for your needs. In many cases, installing a different sized unit can have a dramatic impact on your energy costs.

Troubleshooting Central Heating Problems

There is a lot you can do yourself to correct issues with your HVAC system and save you from incurring unnecessary expenses. We have compiled a list of things to check that will increase unit efficiency and save on repair bills. When professional services are necessary, Howard Air technicians are NATE-certified and experienced in major brands and models.

At Howard Air, we have more than 30 years of experience in keeping our Valley of the Sun customers comfortable during the dry heat of summer and the biting cold of winter. To find out more about our central heating system services or to schedule an in-home consultation, please contact us today.