HVAC Working Systems
Energy-efficient HVAC systems have plenty of moving parts, but breaking down these parts one by one can help you solve the mysteries behind this important part of your home/office. Learn how HVAC works by reading about the anatomy of an HVAC system.
Thermostat: This is the most obvious portion of your HVAC system, and the piece you’ll interact with most. Usually installed on an easily accessed walls, it can be set manually and programmed to keep your home/office at your ideal temperature. When the ambient temperature gets too hot or cold, the thermostat triggers your HVAC system to start circulating air as needed.
Evaporator coil: The evaporator coil is used to cool down the air when your thermostat is set to a lower temperature. This cold air is then funneled throughout your home/office.
Condensing unit: This unit is found on the outside of your home and filled with what is called refrigerant gas. When the refrigerant is cooled, the condensing unit pumps this liquid to the evaporator coil to be transformed into gas again
Furnace: Your furnace is the star of your HVAC system, and it can be huge—it’ll require the most space out of all of the different components. The furnace is designed to heat air, which is then distributed to different portions of your home via ductwork or piping. Furnaces use varied heat sources, including solar energy, heat pumps, electric resistance, and combustion.
Vents: These are the outlets that help distribute heated and cooled air from the duct system into the various rooms of your home/office. They’re generally found near the ceiling with angle slats, designed to send the air downward. It’s important to ensure these vents don’t become blocked.
Refrigerant lines: These lines carry refrigerant to the condensing unit in the form of gas. This gas is transformed to liquid form, then transferred back to the evaporator coil.
Types of HVAC Systems
Understanding the different varieties of HVAC systems can save you a lot of time while you’re considering your options, and help you better understand how HVAC works. Narrow down your choices before you begin shopping, and get a clear picture of what you need to make yours function at its best.
- Heating and air conditioning split system: This is the traditional type of HVAC system. It has components both in and outside of the home/office. Generally, it contains an air conditioner designed to cool refrigerant outside of your house/office, and a furnace with a fan or coil inside the house/office. These systems feature ductwork, which carries air throughout the various rooms/cabins of your home/office. Newer, energy-efficient split systems offer special accessories including air purifiers, cleaners, and humidifiers.
- Zoned systems: This type of HVAC system lets you cool or heat different areas of your home by controlling valves or dampers within the ductwork. These dampers are used to selectively block airflow. Zoned systems can save you a great deal of money, as they allow you to control which areas are heated or cooled at specific times.
- Duct-free split system: This system, as its name implies, is designed to function without ductwork. They’re generally composed of a heat pump or air conditioner, a small fan coil, wires and tubing that connects the outdoor unit to the fan coil. They may also come with optional accessories, including air purifiers and cleaners.
- Humidity control: Most modern systems offer optional humidity control features. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be added depending on your climate needs. These systems let you automatically control the humidity levels throughout your home/office when your HVAC system is running. In some parts of the country, humidity can be as much of a problem as high temperatures. Ever heard this weather forecast? “Temperature is 90 degrees, feels like 100 degrees.” You can thank humidity for that. It’s important that your cooling system provides more than cold air; your investment should offer you an overall comfortable environment, which can sometimes only be reached through humidity control.
- Choose the right sized system: Bigger isn’t always better, and this is especially true of HVAC systems. Don’t purchase a larger unit than your home needs. If the system is too big for the amount of square footage it’s cooling, it will cycle through its rounds too quickly. This could lead to excess condensation, mold, rot, and of course, decreased comfort.
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