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All About the Heat Exchanger

Have you ever wondered how HVAC system changes the temperature of the air it pushes into your home? Heat exchangers are the answer to this question. In both the heating and cooling components of an HVAC system, heat exchangers work to change the temperature of the air and keep your Fairfax, Virginia house at your specified temperature.

Understanding the Heat Exchanger

Though many methods of heat exchange exist, the basic principle is the same whether you’re heating or cooling air. The system has two fluids flowing through it which must always be kept separate from each other. The fluids might be water, refrigerant, or steam. Essentially, heat from one fluid passes to the other, which then either heats or cools the air pumping into your house, depending on which way the heat exchange is going.

Types of Heat Exchangers

In your AC, the heat exchange happens with the evaporator and condenser coils, which rely on the changing state of refrigerant to cool the air. In your furnace, the heat exchange often relies on burning natural fuels. Several types of heat exchangers typically exist in HVAC systems: rotary wheels, which involve gases and a rotating cylinder; fin exchangers, which have lots of metal fins; and pipe exchangers, which involve passing refrigerant between two sets of pipes.

Potential Heat Exchanger Problems

Refrigerant leaks, rusty or corroded parts, and equipment malfunction are all problems that can arise with heat exchangers. Even if you think you know what’s going on, this part is so essential to your entire HVAC system that you should call in a professional to run diagnostics and conduct maintenance if anything is amiss. A malfunctioning heat exchanger is very dangerous because it can leak furnace gases into your home, so always get your routine maintenance.

If you need to schedule your fall HVAC maintenance, have a question or concern about your system’s heat exchanger, or are looking into new heating systems, call Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning at 703-783-0145.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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