Many homeowners are perplexed by the inner workings of house cooling and heating. The uncertainty originates from a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of how heating and cooling systems function. If you want to utilize an air source heat pump to heat or cool your home, then a heat exchanger is an important piece of equipment. Many individuals, however, have no idea what a heat exchanger is or how it works. For this reason, it is important to have a basic understanding of both.

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

A heat exchanger is a device that allows heat to be transferred quickly and efficiently between two or more fluids. Fluids must be separated with a solid wall to prevent them from mixing or coming into direct contact. A heat exchanger uses fluid to transmit heat without transferring the heat-carrying fluid. The heat-carrying fluid can be either gas or liquid. Heat flows from hot to cold and there must be a temperature difference. Heat exchangers are also used to improve the working of machines and engines.

How Does a Heat Exchanger Work?

The working technique of heat exchangers is based on the basic physics of the flow of heat where heat flows from a hot to cool medium. A heat exchanger is made up of components with high heat conductivity that serve as heat transmission elements. The two fluids are kept apart while still allowing for effective heat transmission.

The real heat transfer occurs in reaction to the relative flow of fluid in these separated parts, regardless of the size and form of the exchanger. For optimal heat exchange between the medium, a heat exchanger might have a continuous, parallel, or crossflow configuration.

The two fluids flow in opposite directions in separate tubes in a counter-current flow configuration. It is also known as the parallel flow type because of its opposing yet parallel flow direction. While the technique is well-known for its excellent efficiency, it is utilized when a substantial temperature change is required in a short time.

How Does a Gas Furnace Use a Heat Exchanger?

During the winter months, gas furnaces are used to heat homes. Heat exchangers are used in furnaces to increase the temperature of the air before distributing it throughout the building. The heat exchanger in a gas furnace is an airtight vessel having a hole at the bottom and one at the top, known as the flue.

Burners generate and transfer hot combustible gases to your heat exchanger when your furnace is on. The heat from the combustion gases is then transmitted to the heat exchanger’s metal walls, causing those metal walls to heat up.

After the walls are heated, cold air from your home passes through the heat exchanger’s hot metal walls on the outside. This permits air from your house to heat up without taking up any of the heat exchanger’s harmful flammable gases. The tube then distributes the warm air throughout your home.

How Does a Heat Pump Use a Heat Exchanger?

Unlike gas furnaces, heat pumps don’t generate heat. Instead, they transfer heat from one location to another. A heat pump applies the heat transfer principle for both heating and cooling.

When heat is needed, heat from the sun warms the air outside your house. Thus, when you turn on your heat pump, the fan draws the warm air into the pump while the thermal energy from the air is extracted and then flows into the heat exchanger coil. The heat from the warm air is then transferred to the air inside the house to raise the temperature of your home.

When the cooling fan draws warm air within the house, it goes into the heat pump. The thermal energy from the air inside the house is then extracted into the heat exchanger coil. The heat from the air inside the house is then transferred to the air outside. The fan keeps the continuous flow of warm air encountering the heat exchanger.

Call Us for All Your Heating & Cooling Needs

From the information above, it is evident that a heat exchanger is an important piece of equipment required to cool and heat a home. Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC provides heating and cooling services to ensure that your home’s comfort systems are running optimally. We also offer a continuous maintenance program to keep your furnace working when you need it. Our trained technicians have your best interest in mind to provide you with quality service. Contact Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC in De Pere, WI for more information about our programs and effective services.

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