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The job of your home air conditioner is to move heat from inside your home to the outside, thereby cooling you and your home. Air conditioners blow cool air into your home by pulling the heat out of that air. The air is cooled by blowing it over a set of cold pipes called an evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is filled with refrigerant, which changes from liquid to gas as it absorbs heat from the air. The refrigerant is pumped outside the house to the outdoor coil where it gives up its heat and changes back into a liquid. The compressor is used to move the refrigerant between the two coils and to change the pressure of the refrigerant so that all the refrigerant evaporates or condenses in the appropriate coils.
Gas & Electric Furnaces
Gas and Electric furnaces share a distribution system: blower fans that move heated air through ducts and out vents into your home. However, the way they generate that heat is where the differences appear.
When the thermostat signals to a gas furnace that it needs heat, a silicon nitride igniter activates the gas-powered burners. Gas jets ignite and create heat in a combustion chamber. The heat transfers to the air through a heat exchanger. Air blows around and through the heat exchanger (usually a series of steel chambers), and this heated air then gets picked up by the blower fans and sent into the ductwork.
An electric-powered furnace doesn’t have burners or a combustion chamber: instead, the cabinet contains an array of heating elements. The more heat the thermostat requires, the more heating elements will turn on. The blower fan then distributes the air warmed from the heating elements.
Electric furnaces have the advantages of lower initial installation costs and generally smaller sizes. If your home doesn’t have a gas line, an electric furnace is a less expensive option. Don’t try to decide between electricity or gas on your own. Let the professionals at Mountain View Heating help!
For our Central Oregon climate, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps extract heat from the outdoors to warm your home. During the cooling season, heat pumps extract heat from your home into the outdoors. The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. Today’s heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters.
Ductless Mini Split Systems
Ductless, mini split system heat pumps (mini splits) provide heating AND cooling and are a great option for homes with “non-ducted” heating systems, such as wall heaters or wood stoves. They can also be a good choice for room additions where extending or installing ductwork is not feasible. In comparison to other add-on systems, mini splits offer more interior design flexibility. The indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall.
Control heating and cooling comfort where you want it, when you want it. With a Zoning System, you won’t heat empty rooms or over-cool one area to be comfortable in another. Zoning makes it possible for everyone to be comfortable.
Most homes only have 1 thermostat located in a central hallway of the house. Zoning Systems use dampers in your ductwork that open and close as needed based on the thermostat setting in each zone. When a zone is at the selected temperature and doesn’t need to be heated or cooled, the dampers close to save energy and maximize comfort elsewhere. Think of it as controlling your heating and cooling the same way you control your lights – a thermostat controls each zone to the temperature you choose.
Indoor Air Quality & Humidifiers
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within buildings, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the occupants. We spend most of our time indoors, so breathing healthy air where we live, work and play is critical. Indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks and as much as 62% of allergy symptoms are caused by indoor air allergies.
Air purification systems are the best defense against uncomfortable or unhealthy air. They help control everything from microscopic dust mites and mold spores to infectious bacteria and viruses. From patented photocatalytic technology to filter, purify and freshen the air, to hospital general surgery level filtration systems, our skilled Comfort Advisors can help you determine what best suits your needs.
Humidifiers allow alleviation from our dry high desert air. During cold weather, the air is less humid than normal. Many people combat winter dryness with a humidifier which can help prevent or alleviate dry skin, eyes, and sinuses. And since humid air keeps you warmer, it allows you to operate your system at a lower, more efficient temperature.
- Programmable thermostats will quickly pay for themselves. Why heat/cool your home when you are not there? Easy to program, start saving now. Remember 3-5 degrees lowered on the thermostat in the winter (and vice versa in summer) saves you money on your utility bill and saves our planet!
- During cold weather months, close foundation vents and install foam blocks to prevent cold air from being allowed in the crawl space where your ducts and water pipes can be affected.
- If you have a fan switch on your thermostat and live in a two-story house, turn the fan switch to the on position at least during the day and it will help even out the temperature difference between upstairs and down while taking full advantage of your indoor air quality product(s). They only work when the fan is running.