With temperature variations in and outside our spaces, surviving without a controlling system is unimaginable. This is where an HVAC system comes to the rescue. Since it’s an important component of our homes and commercial buildings, it deserves a lot more attention. And so we are here, ready to acquaint you with the ins and outs of the system. Since we have a lot of ground to cover, let’s dig into its mechanism right away.
Table of Contents
What is an HVAC system?
Keeping everything aside, let’s first decode what HVAC is. HVAC stand for heating, ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and as the name indicates, it uses various techniques to heat, cool, and ventilate your property. Can you even think of a comfortable life without these important elements, especially if your area experiences extreme highs and lows? We are sure your answer would be ‘No’, because living without your air conditioner or heater for an hour in extreme environments is not even an option.
Even in moderate climates, if your home or office does not have adequate natural ventilation, a good HVAC is the best solution. Just like natural ventilation, HVAC mechanical ventilation will manage airflow between inside and outside efficiently.
It is also worth noting that the HVAC works as an air cleaner system, giving better indoor air quality, and performing filtration functions that include removing moisture, dirt, bacteria, stinks, etc., from the surrounding air. Aren’t these benefits too many? Due to these reasons, HVAC has become an essential part of modern built homes and spaces.
HVAC can be a packaged heating and cooling system, a ductless system for greater independent control systems, or it can be a split system. In a split system, the heating and cooling units are separate with an indoor and outdoor unit. Another HVAC type is a hybrid system which is great for saving energy. As it can switch between gas and electric power, it will reduce heating and cooling costs.
What are the components that make up an HVAC system?
Understanding the whole HVAC system’s working might seem a complex task, but getting to know the components that make it is important so that you know your system is working properly. Also, you might be able to detect any initial issues in the HVAC equipment before things expedite. The main components of the HVAC system include:
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers
Let’s now look at each of these in detail to know their role in maintaining the perfect temperature at your place.
These tubing systems play an essential part in air distribution. They provide a path for blowing the heated or cooled air throughout the place.
Air handler is responsible for the movement of air throughout the home. Usually linked to the ductwork, the air handler transfers the air throughout the ducts at the property.
It is a liquid that is used to transfer heat. In the case of an air conditioner, it takes heat from inside and moves it outside, creating a cooling effect indoors.
It is the important part that releases or collects heat from the air. Its basic function is to transfer heat. It contains coils and compressors. In the case of ACs, the coils are used to release heat from the refrigerant, and the compressor convinces the refrigerant to return indoors and cool more air.
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers
Humidifiers come into play when the climate is dry, and dehumidifiers play their part when the air is too humid. So depending on the climate, these components take action and make the atmosphere suitable for you.
We all know that thermostats regulate the temperature, and so your HVAC system is accompanied by them to allow you to set the degree as per your preference.
Vents are the important components of the HVAC system that help in circulating the air and regulating the temperature. Ventilation makes sure there’s fresh air coming into the building and getting rid of any stale air. It’s like opening a window to let in a breeze, but HVAC does it automatically. Ventilation also improves indoor air quality by getting rid of stinks, bacteria, and moisture.
Types of HVAC Systems
The purpose of HVAC systems is to control the temperature by providing heating and cooling solutions. Some of these also work as heat exchanger, curbing Modern homes are equipped with one or more of the following types of HVAC systems.
If you live in a region with hot and humid climates, you might not even be able to digest the thought of living without an air conditioner in your home, office, car, etc. The purpose of air conditioning is to cool down the inside space by removing heat and moisture. As a result, you can enjoy the breezy fresh air when an AC is installed at your place.
Boilers, as the name suggests, heat water to provide steam or hot water to add warmth to your premises. The hot water or steam is received by the radiator in each room which transfers the heat to the area. The transfer of heat leads to the cooling down of the steam or hot water and has to be resent to the boiler to carry on with the process. When does all this stop? When the thermostat indicates the desired temperature, the goal is achieved, and the boiler shuts down.
Furnaces are your guardian angels in summers as well as in winters. They heat the inside air in winter by burning fuel, and circulate the cool and conditioned air in summer. Also, furnaces are directly linked to the thermostat so that any changes in the thermostat are well communicated to them, and they are shut down accordingly. In modern-day structures, propane and natural gas furnaces are most used as they save the energy costs that electric HVAC units have.
Forced Air System
A forced air system is a type of HVAC in which air is drawn in through vents or ducts, and then it is forced through a heating or cooling system. Once the air has been heated or cooled, it’s forced back out through the vents or ducts and into the rooms of the building. This creates a cycle of air flow that helps to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the building.
Heat pumps are also your saviors in controlling the temperature by providing both heating and cooling. They take out heat from the atmosphere by using mechanical energy and then pump them in or out depending on heating and cooling needs.
A heat pump works like a heat exchanger. In the winter, heat pumps draw heat from the outside air and move it inside to give warm air. Even if it’s cold outside, there’s still some heat that can be captured and used to warm up the inside. In the summer, the heat pump works in reverse. It takes the heat from inside the building and moves it outside to create cool air.
The best part about heat pumps is that they are eco-friendly and offer energy efficiency, as there is no burning of fossil fuels involved in the whole process.
Packaged Systems (Heat Pump with Evaporator Coil)
The packaged system involves the bundling of heating and cooling equipment in a single cabinet and hence the name packaged systems. They are suitable for homes and places with limited space as they occupy little room. They are mostly installed on the roof or outside the ground of your property. A good example of a packaged unit is a heat pump with additional evaporator coils that serve the purpose of cooling. Similarly, air conditioning systems with heat strips are another popular type of packaged system.
If you want to transfer heat directly through the walls or ceiling, then radiant heating is your best bet. They rely on sources like water heaters or boilers to do the deed. Radiant heating creates heat through thermal radiation. By heating the floor rather than the surrounding air, they provide indirect heat that radiates from the floor up. This heat is absorbed by surrounding objects, and they, in turn, help to warm the entire room.
How Does An HVAC System Work?
Now that you know that HVAC is important both during hot and cold days, and the components play their part in transferring or producing heat, it’s also important to know how does HVAC system works. All the important elements work independently as well as jointly to give you the warmth and comfort that you enjoy during extreme conditions.
Heating Your Home: How It Works
The main components that play their part here are the furnace and the heat pump. A furnace produces heat with the help of electrical energy, or it burns propane and oil and hence gives you the preferred temperature. The heat pump absorbs heat from the environment and transfers it internally or externally, depending on the need.
Cooling Your Home: How It Works
Time to bust the myth that air conditioners produce cold air. Just like a heat pump, an air conditioner also acts as a transformer that just vents the heat out from the atmosphere. Here the job of the refrigerant cannot be overlooked. It travels through the air conditioner and, while doing so, changes from a gaseous state to a high-pressure liquid. In this process of air conditioning, it absorbs and then releases heat, bringing the most cherished cold air to your rooms.
Also, remember the efficiency of a heat pump. It uses electricity to move heat so that your cool spaces become cooler. Lack of natural ventilation in a space makes the HVAC cooling control system a blessing in summers.
Ventilating Your Home: How It Works
The ventilation of your home is dependent on the ductwork as it’s in direct coordination with both your heating and cooling systems. In the case of a heating system, the excess heat can also be removed with the help of a chimney flue or vent stack. Just remember that ventilation is a very important component for your health and safety, and so it deserves your most attention. It consists of heat exchangers that are used to transfer heat, and return vents to exhaust air.
What HVAC system is right for me?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to HVAC systems. The right equipment depends on multiple things like your location, budget, the size of your property, etc. You also might want a system that fulfills heating and cooling needs along with reduced energy costs. Some of us may prefer an air conditioning system that greatly improves indoor air quality via mechanical ventilation.
Another way to assess which HVAC system is better is to take out its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the seasonal energy efficiency rating, the more efficient the HVAC system is at cooling a building.
The final decision of the best HVAC system relies on your preferences, such as air conditioning, an electric heat pump system, a gas furnace, or combined systems. But then, whatever your choice for the HVAC systems is, it’s always advised to hire experts for the job.
Although there are many players in the market, you need to look for reliable HVAC contractors to perform your work. This is a matter of bringing comfort to you in the form of warm or cool, fresh air, so you need to ensure the work is handled by professionals. As the HVAC system is for the whole property, there is no margin of error.
Therefore do your research and ask around to get access to the specialists in your area who know the ins and outs well. And since you have learned some basics yourself too, you are in a better position to opt for the best HVAC system for your beloved place.
Choosing an efficient HVAC system for your home is very important to save you from freezing or those irritating sweats. Isn’t the feeling of all this so haunting? So time to fasten your seat belts and invest in a system that understands your home well and gives you the temperature that is just right for a peaceful and comfortable life.
What does an HVAC system do?
The HVAC system maintains the temperature of your home by regulating and moving warm or cool air throughout your building.
What is the difference between HVAC and AC?
HVAC system is responsible for heating, cooling, and ventilation around your space, whereas AC only contributes to the cooling part. So HVAC is the broader umbrella that looks into the overall temperature regulation of your homes and offices.
What are the four main types of HVAC systems?
The four main types of HVAC systems are split systems, hybrid systems, duct-free systems, and packaged systems. In the split system, the heating and cooling are done by separate units. The hybrid system carries a hybrid heating system, while duct-free systems are appropriate for places where the traditional duct systems are unsuitable, and packaged systems contain everything in a single unit.
What is HVAC’s basic concept?
HVAC is the abbreviation for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It refers to the equipment used to transfer air from inside to outdoors and vice versa, aiming to heat and cool your commercial and residential spaces.