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Do My Furnace And AC Unit Work Together?

Understanding how your furnace and AC unit work together is important when making HVAC installation and maintenance choices that affect your home comfort.

While your furnace and air conditioner serve different purposes in your home – one for heating and the other for cooling – these two systems do in fact work together. This means that a more efficient AC unit also affects the efficiency of the furnace system. Now let’s take a look at how these two systems work together in harmony to bring you home comfort.

How Do My Furnace and AC Unit Work Together?

To keep it simple, the air conditioning component of your HVAC system cools refrigerant with an outdoor unit while the furnace works inside with its fan and coils. The furnace and AC unit use the same ducts and vents to distribute the cool or warm air throughout your home.

AC Unit

What is the Difference Between Forced Air and Central Air?

Knowing the difference between a forced air and central air system will help you understand the role that each play as part of your HVAC system. A forced air system is the HVAC system in its entirety which moves warm or cool air through the ducts and vents of your home. Your home’s furnace or heat pump are an example of a forced air system. A forced air system originates from your home’s furnace or heat pump and works as a distribution method for any HVAC system that uses ducts and air vents to disperse temperature-controlled air throughout your home.

A central air system produces hot or cold air in a central location and distributes the conditioned air throughout the house. Your home’s air conditioner is a central air system independent of your furnace which produces cold air outside.

All in all, your air conditioning system is independent of your furnace, but they use the same distribution network to push cool air into your home.

Standard, Split, and Packaged AC Systems

While all furnaces have pretty much the same distribution system, air conditioners can operate on a standard, split, or packaged system.

A split air conditioner has both an indoor and an outdoor unit. The outdoor AC unit is where the compressor and coil are located, while the indoor unit distributes warm air from the furnace.

A packaged AC unit has all components in one place with no outdoor unit.

Can I Have a Furnace Without an AC or AC Without a Furnace?

The need for both a furnace and an air conditioner entirely depends on the climate you live in and your home comfort needs.

In warmer climates some homeowners install room air conditioners where the AC unit is housed in a window or wall opening. This is an affordable alternative for those that live in a climate where home heating is unnecessary.

Other homes might have just a heating system independent of an AC unit in climates where hot and humid weather is rare. Understanding the needs of your home and situation should guide you in choosing which type of HVAC system best suits your home.

Do Heat Pumps Work the Same as Furnaces?

Furnaces burn oil or gas to generate heat, while heat pumps run on electricity and draw in heat from outside air to warm the home. Heat pumps don’t generate heat, they simply transfer it. Because of how they work, heat pumps do not produce as much hot air as furnaces which makes them best for moderate climates.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between an AC or a Heat Pump?

AC units and heat pumps look pretty much identical, so it may be tough to distinguish between the two at first glance. To identify which one you have, take a closer look at the condenser or indoor air handler labels. An identifying factor of heat pumps is a reversing valve within the condenser. Lastly, you could simply turn on the heat and notice if your outside unit is on which would indicate that it is a heat pump.

Should I Replace My AC And Furnace Together?

While it’s not necessary to change your furnace and AC unit at the same time, it is recommended. This is because the only way to guarantee that your new AC will operate at its rated efficiency is by replacing your furnace at the same time. A new high efficiency unit has increased efficiency, with a SEER rating of 16 or higher. If you have an old furnace (15+ years) it won’t contribute to the efficiency of the HVAC system making the new high efficiency AC unit an unnecessary expense. Additionally, an old furnace system with leaky ducts will result in efficiency loss, wasted energy, and an increase in your energy bill. Considering expensive maintenance and repair costs, installing a new furnace is often easier than keeping the old one. Investing in a new high efficiency furnace can save you money if it’s installed properly by a licensed technician.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how your home’s HVAC system operates in harmony and the different choices you can make when choosing a new HVAC system. Finding a trusted HVAC contractor is the most important step in choosing equipment you can count on to keep you comfortable at home for years to come. If you need help with choosing the best AC unit or furnace for your home or have any other HVAC concerts, don’t hesitate to contact us today. DeMark Home Ontario offers purchase, rental, and financing options for every budget and the top air conditioner and furnace brands on the market. Our quick and efficient HVAC replacement is done by our team of fully licensed and trained HVAC technicians.

Give us a call at 1 (855) 998-2998 or fill out our online request form and we will be happy to assist you with your request.

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