A central heating system is basically all the parts and devices that are needed to distribute heat from one heat source to all areas of a home. Forced-air (furnaces) or hydronic (hot water or steam boilers) are just some examples of the most common types of heating sources. You might be wondering: how does a central heating system deliver heat? It is accomplished by either blowing warm air through air ducts or pumping hot water or steam via various pipes to radiators and convectors.
Utilizing either a forced-air or hydronic (water) system will require a thermostat(s). The thermostats will automatically turn off and on the heating unit as the temperature inside the room or house rises and falls.
With forced-air systems, you will most likely only have one thermostat to control the temperature of the entire home. With a hydronic system, it is easier to “split up” the heating system into zones and have a thermostat for each zone. Each zone will have its own thermostat. This allows for greater comfort and flexibility. For example, you could separate the upstairs and downstairs into different zones; or your bedrooms from your main living space.
Parts of Forced-Air Heating Systems
Nowadays, forced-air systems are the most common type of central heating system. How does one identify a forced-air system? Well, if your home is furnished with an air-conditioner, furnace, or heat pump, it is considered a forced-air system.
The main part of a forced-air system is the furnace. Heat-pumps or gas, propane, oil, wood, and coal-fired furnaces are all available, but you will find coal-fired furnaces to be the most economical.
Ductwork is large piping or channels that have one or two main trunk lines with smaller “branches coming off that lead to vents in the floor or ceiling. The main trunk line is attached to the top of the furnace. A blower, typically a squirrel cage type, blows cold air into the bottom rear of the furnace’s heat exchange area where it heats up. The heated air then goes through the ductwork and out the vents.
For best airflow, there will also be cold air return ductwork. The cold air returns are typically vents in the walls near the floor. These ducts will be piped back to the furnace’s blower. In this way, the air is circulated through your house.
Another important part of a forced-air central heating system is the air filter. The cold air return must be filtered before entering the furnace. There is an almost innumerable amount of filter sizes and filtration levels.
On a central heating system that utilizes a coal furnace the thermostat typically directly controls the furnace and not the blower. When the thermostat “calls for heat” it will signal the furnace to open its dampers and start producing more heat. The blower then waits for the air to heat up. Once the air is hot, a sensor in the ductwork tells the blower to begin forcing air throughout your home.
Parts of Hydronic Heating Systems
Hydronic systems use water to distribute the heat created by the boiler to all parts of your home. Other than a heat pump, boilers can use the same fuels, gas, propane, oil, wood, and coal for heating the water. Again coal-fired boilers will enable you to save $100’s or $1,000’s per year!
With a hydronic central heating system, you will have pipes running throughout your home, copper and PEX piping are the most common. Pumps called “circulators” pump heated water from the boiler to all the areas of your home. The water’s heat can be radiated by several different options; in-floor piping, baseboard radiator, cast-iron radiator, or tied into the existing forced-air central system using a water to air heat exchanger. The cooled water is recycled to the boiler and reheated.
There is typically one larger circulator to keep the water moving through the system. If you wish to split up your home into heating zones then typically devices called “zone valves” are used. Zone valves are installed in the piping and enable/disable the water flowing in the pipe. A thermostat will control the zone valves. If a zone does not need more heat its thermostat will signal the zone valve to close.
On a central heating system that utilizes a coal boiler as the heat source, the thermostats typically only control if the water is flowing or not. The coal boiler has a device called an “aquastat” that senses and maintains the temperature of the water in the boiler by controlling the intake of air to the fire.
Why Choose Legacy Stoves?
Here at Legacy Stoves, we can guarantee that your house will be kept warm and comfortable through our range of heating systems. From furnaces to boilers, Legacy Stoves prides itself in delivering the highest quality products that are manufactured with amazing fit and finish yet are convenient and efficient at the same time. We attribute our commitment to quality to our long-standing history as a faith-based and family-owned business. As such, we ensure that all our customers are satisfied through effective products that come at the right price.