What Does the Heat Exchanger Do in Your HVAC System?

December 16, 2021
Heat Exchanger in Westminster, CO

Many commercial and residential properties can greatly benefit from utilizing the professional experience of a certified HVAC company. Air conditioners and furnaces are common household appliances that often have many parts critical to the system functioning correctly. While homeowners may have a brief understanding of the system as a whole, it’s difficult to understand how each part functions without training and experience.

Heat exchangers are one such part that helps household heating and cooling systems to save energy in how they adjust the internal temperatures of the home. When trying to determine what’s going on with the HVAC system in the home or business, it’s essential to have an understanding of the importance of the heat exchanger and the signs it might be malfunctioning.

What’s a Heat Exchanger?

The overall function of a heat exchanger is to move heat across fluids or mediums. This system plays a huge part in chemical plants, automobiles and common household appliances. In many homes, air conditioners and gas furnaces use heat exchangers to move heat in or outside the home depending on the season. A heat exchanger allows the appliance to exert less overall energy, saving homeowners unnecessary costs and increasing efficiency.

Homes across the nation have their gas furnaces cranked as snow begins to fall and ice forms on the sidewalk and streets. The heat exchanger in a gas furnace is the reason homes are able to be circulated with clean, warm air rather than combustion gases. Once the furnace starts, gases are heated and pushed into a heat exchanger chamber or flue. Air is then pulled from outside and crowded around this chamber so the contained gases can heat the air. This warm air is then pushed through the vents while the gases are either used again in high-efficiency furnace models or blown outside the home. For furnaces, the heat exchanger keeps the home safe from combustion gases while heating air safely to be distributed around the home.

Once the colder months are replaced with spring and summer, homes will once again use their air conditioners. AC units use a chemical called refrigerant, which is kept in a closed system so it can efficiently carry heat from inside the home outside. Rather than creating cold air, AC units remove hot air from the home, leaving room for cold air. The refrigerant begins the process as a liquid until warm air is blown onto it, turning it into a gas. As it moves into the condenser and outside the home, the gas gains pressure until the air from outside blows over it, cooling it back down. It is ultimately cooled back down into a liquid and moved back into the evaporator to repeat the process.

When Should a Heat Exchanger Be Replaced?

Heat exchangers often have a life expectancy between 10 and 15 years and will then need to be replaced to keep the HVAC system running efficiently. Professional services should be used rather than attempting to purchase and replace the part alone. Experienced technicians can note any other issues in the HVAC system and work to repair and maintenance the machine to extend its lifespan.

Air conditioners can experience refrigerant leaks that can stop up the whole system. The heat exchangers in gas furnaces can crack due to age, corrosion or metal that has been cooled and heated too many times. This can lead to combustion gases leaking into the home and even carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular servicing and maintenance is the best way to ensure the HVAC systems in the home are functioning efficiently and safely. A lack of proper care can result in increased utility bills while the system struggles to heat or cool the home and potentially contaminated and dangerous airflow.

Call a Professional Now

True Heating & Cooling is a respected heating and cooling service team located in Westminster, Colorado. We provide experienced service to homes and businesses in the Denver Metro area. Our professional business offers heating and cooling services including repair, maintenance and installing new systems. We can help homeowners with new boilers and tankless water heaters and check air quality and carbon monoxide levels. Professional services are a must for homeowners who want to feel assured their home is properly being heated and cooled and is safe for family members and beloved pets. Call True Heating & Cooling now to find the best team to fix your home’s heating and cooling problems.

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