The 3 Ways Heat Is Transferred

If you have studied thermodynamics you will know that heat is the transfer of energy form a hot area to a cold one. We want to discuss how this really happens and the 3 ways that heat tranfer occurs in relation to home heating and cooling systems.

Conduction Heat Transfer

Conduction is when heat is transferred through something or through direct physical contact. An examle of this is a steel handled pan on the stove. As the pan heats up eventually the handle will get hot and you will burn your hand if you touch the handle. Another examle is with a fire place is leaving a poker in the fire long enough and the handle will be come hot.

Conduction is found in a central heating system using a furnace. In Bellingham WA a furnace can be gas, propane or electric. By the way, we do have the most reliable home heating furnace installs in Bellingham! The heat exchange occurs at the heat exchanger. It is the heat exchangers job to transfer the heat from the exhaust gases to the circulating return air of the home without allowing them to mix together and contaminate the air we breathe. It does this through the heat exchangers metal walls. As you see heat is being transferred through direct contact.

Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer

This is heat transfer through the emission of electromagnetic waves. Going back to our fireplace example you do not need to touch the hot poker to feel the heat. You can just relax in your easy chair and get warm by radiation. Unlike conduction this does not require a physical medium

Convection Heat Transfer

This is transfer of heat or the movement of heat through a gas or liquid. The 2 types of Convection are natural convection and forced convection.

Natural convection is fluid movement that is caused by a difference in density. Like hot air rising through a chimeny. Next is forced convection which requres movement by a fan or pump for gas or liquid.

We can see this in action through a heat pump that uses a refrigerant and compressors to transfer heat in or out of a home depending on whether you are heating or cooling.

The 3 Processes Are Important

It is important to understand the 3 modes of heat transfer. Not only will you understand just how our furnace or A/C maintains temperature changes in your home, but it will tie into the various ways that the building materials are designed to retain or resist heat. Did you know that foundation walls, insulation, windows are designed to resist heat transfer. Your home has been engineered for efficiency to reduce energy costs so it is important to keep up on the maintenance of these systems. Contact Bellingham HVAC for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs!

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