You are here

Heating and Cooling System Support Equipment Basics

July 30, 2013 - 3:28pm


Thermostats and ducts provide opportunities for saving energy. Dehumidifying heat pipes provide a way to help central air conditioners and heat pumps dehumidify air. Electric and gas meters allow users to track energy use.


Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings. Users can adjust the times heating or air-conditioning is activated according to a pre-set schedule.

Visit the Energy Saver website for more information about thermostats and control systems in homes.


Efficient and well-designed duct systems distribute air properly throughout a building, without leaking, to keep all rooms at a comfortable temperature. The system should provide balanced supply and return flow to maintain a neutral pressure within the building.

Visit the Energy Saver website for more information about minimizing energy losses in ducts.

Dehumidifying Heat Pipes

Dehumidifying heat pipes enable air conditioners to dehumidify better and still efficiently cool the air. A dehumidifying heat pipe resembles two heat exchangers, located on either side of the air conditioner's evaporator coil. Several tubes connect the two sections. A refrigerant inside the tubes pre-cools the incoming supply air by absorbing the heat from it. This causes the refrigerant in the tube to evaporate.

The air conditioner evaporator cools it further, extracting up to 91% more water vapor than a conventional evaporator would. After the refrigerant in the tubes changes into a vapor, it flows to the condensing section at the other end of the system. There, it releases its heat into the air stream and returns to its liquid state again. Gravity then causes the refrigerant to flow to the evaporator end of the pipe to begin the cycle again.

Visit the Energy Saver website for more information about dehumidifying heat pipes.

Electric and Gas Meters

The standard electric power meter is a clock-like device driven by the electricity moving through it. As the home draws current from the power lines, a set of small gears inside the meter move. The number of revolutions is recorded by the dials that you can see on the face of the meter. The speed of the revolutions depends on the amount of current drawn; the more power consumed at any one instant, the faster the gears will rotate.

A gas meter is driven by the force of the moving gas in the pipe, and also turns faster as the flow increases. Each time the dial with the lower value makes one complete revolution, the pointer on the next higher value dial moves ahead one digit.

Visit the Energy Saver website for more information about how to read residential electric and gas meters.