What Is a Heat Exchanger?

What Is a Heat Exchanger?

Most people use an HVAC unit to maintain comfortable indoor air conditions but don’t necessarily know how the equipment works. The unit mainly transfers thermal heat from one location to another. It works based on the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat naturally flows from high temperature to low-temperature areas. The heat exchanger is the component responsible for this process. It’s a device that transfers heat between mediums, be it gas, liquid, or vapor of different temperatures. Heat exchangers not only work in the cooling and heating systems but also help other industrial machines work efficiently. Read on to learn more.

How Does a Heat Exchanger Work?

The two central roles of the heat exchanger in the heating process are to exchange the heat from the combustion process to the indoor air and separate toxic gases from the heated air. Once you set the HVAC thermostat to heat, the burners deliver combustion gases via an opening into the heat exchanger and heat the metal walls. At the same time, the return air ducts draw cold indoor air and blow it over the outer part of the heat exchanger. The heated heat exchanger walls warm the air, and it then flows back into the building. This process leads to the production of exhaust gases expelled to the outdoors through the flue.

On the other hand, the air conditioner contains two heat exchangers, the evaporator and the condenser. When you set your unit to cool, the return ducts draw warm indoor air and blow it over cool evaporator coils. The coolant in the coils absorbs the heat from the air then changes from liquid to vapor. It flows into the compressor the condenser and disperses the heat outside. Cool air recirculates into the building, the refrigerant changes back into liquid, flows to the evaporator coils, and the cycle continues. Your HVAC unit will use less energy to cool or heat your building with a well-functioning heat exchanger.

How to Maintain the Heat Exchanger

Each time the heat exchanger heats up, the metals expand, and the cold air leads to contraction. This increases the risks of corrosion and wear. A crack can lead to carbon monoxide leaks that can cause headaches, nausea, or death in extreme cases. You can reduce such issues by planning for regular maintenance. Get a full service HVAC and plumbing contractor in Lewisville tx, to inspect your system each year. A professional can easily spot early signs of damage and fix them before they escalate to more significant issues.

During tune-ups, the technician will also change the air filters. Note that a clogged filter causes the heat exchanger to overheat, which strains it and increases the risk of cracking. When well taken care of, most heat exchangers will serve you for about 15 to 20 years. If yours is beyond this age, replace it.

A heat exchanger contributes significantly to the energy efficiency of your HVAC unit. You, therefore, need to have it tuned up to keep it running efficiently. Some signs that you should have the heat exchanger inspected include black soot, unusual odors, water near the unit, or gas leak signs. Contact a full service HVAC and plumbing contractor in Lewisville tx, if you notice any of these signs.