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Weatherization Partner

Home Heating and Cooling Basics

Heating and Cooling 101

Home heating and cooling can comprise up to 50% of your monthly utility costs making heating and cooling two of the most important concepts of home ownership. In fact, home heating and cooling systems are major factors for those looking to purchase homes, and are a critical aspect of comfortable indoor living.

The term "HVAC" is used to describe home heating and cooling systems. The acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning—which are the 3 primary functions of a home system. They control air temperature and humidity, and maintain the quality of the air in the home. You may also hear of an HVAC contractor, which is a heating and cooling specialist trained to install, repair and maintain your furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, and other technologies like the ductless heat pump, geothermal heating and cooling, and radiant heat.

Central Systems

A central heating and cooling system produces warm or cool air in one central area and then distributes it throughout the home. There are many types of systems that work as central systems, from traditional split systems to packaged product systems.

Products typically used in central heating and cooling systems include:

  • Heat Pumps
  • Air Conditioners
  • Gas and Oil Furnaces
  • Fan Coils
  • Evaporator Coils
  • Controls and Thermostats
  • Heating

    Heating systems keep your home warm and comfortable. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, the function of your heating system is a high priority.

    Most central heating and cooling systems are classified as forced air systems, because they send air through ductwork for distribution. The ductwork can contain products that filter or clean the air. Maintaining your ductwork becomes an important ingredient when considering maintaining your furnace or heat pump. Keeping your duct work clean and checking the seals will be part of your ongoing maintenance.

    Radiant systems create heat and deliver it via components such as radiators that radiate the heat into the home. Boilers are a traditional radiant heat source.

    Typical heating products include:

    • Heat Pumps
    • Gas and Oil Furnaces
    • Fan coils
    • Boilers


    Whole-home air conditioning systems are central systems that rely on ducts to deliver cooled air throughout the home. An air-conditioning system provides cooling, ventilation, humidity control and even heating (if using a Heat Pump) for a home. Air conditioning units cool refrigerants like Puron® Refrigerant and Freon and deliver them to evaporator coils, over which air is then blown to be cooled and ultimately directed through the ducts throughout the home.

    Typical air conditioning products include:

    • Heat Pumps
    • Gas and Oil Furnaces
    • Fan Coils


    The term "thermostat" commonly refers to any unit that controls the operation of a heating and cooling system. Thermostats are used to turn on heating or cooling systems to bring the home to a set temperature. In addition to basic temperature control, programmable thermostats can be used to manage the timing of the system's functions, which can control overall energy use and costs.

    There are also specialty products like the ductless heat pump system by Bryant. The ductless heat pump is unique as it requires no duct work to operate. No duct work means higher efficiencies. The ductless heat pump helps you save money, save energy and provides a higher level of comfort to traditional forms of electric heat. The ductless heat pump is an excellent replacement to baseboard heaters, cadette heaters, and wood burning stoves. The ductless heat pump provides both heating and cooling so there is no need to invest in a furnace and an air conditioner. Advanced technologies by Bryant make the ductless heat pump an excellent choice for room additions, new construction and as a replacement to older heating and cooling systems.

    To learn more about the basics of home heating and cooling, contact an expert at Day Heating and Cooling. You'll be glad you did. In Salem: 503.363;4822 and in Corvallis 541-452-5111.