HVAC is an acronym that stands for Heating,Ventilation, Air Conditioning. HVAC systems not only control indoor air temperature but also maintain indoor air quality. An HVAC system is comprised of a network of complex components that all work in unison in controlling temperature and distributing fresh air throughout a building. However, not all HVAC systems are the same. Research and development in HVAC systems allowed for newer and energy efficient types to be available in the market. You can guarantee that there’s a HVAC system that fits your preferences and budget. Despite significant innovations in HVAC technology, they still share the same mechanical principles. HVAC systems need a central heating or cooling source, then a conduit network to transport and distribute the warm or cool air.
Here’s a helpful guide about the primary components in an HVAC system. This article also has a helpful buyer’s guide as to what HVAC system is ideal for you and how to maintain it.
Common Heating Systems
Heating systems are obviously ideal for regions with cold climates and can vary between the heat mediums they utilize to distribute warmth.
Furnace – Furnaces are the most common type of heating systems. The furnace is a central heating unit that heats air. Fans then circulate the heated air through a network of ductwork, which then exits out of vents to heat the building. Early furnaces used wood and coal as a fuel source but nowadays, oil and natural gas are more commonly used.
Boiler – Unlike furnaces that utilize air as the heating medium, boilers utilize water as the heating medium. A central boiler unit heats water and is then pumped through a network of pipes instead of ductwork. The pipes then leads to an exposed radiator that heats the room.
Ductless Cooling And Heating System – Whilst furnaces and boilers distribute heat throughout the entire house, ductless systems distribute heat onto specific areas. Thus a ductless system removes the invasive and time-consuming requirement of installing piping and ductwork throughout the building, which means installation costs are far cheaper. Another great aspect of ductless systems is that they can provide both heating and cooling. A ductless system works through a split mechanism. An air compressor is installed outside where it extracts air and an indoor unit either cools or heats the air.
Air Conditioning Units
Central Air Conditioning Unit – Just like a furnace heating system, a central air-conditioning cools air which is then distributed throughout the building through a series of ductwork. However, central HVAC systems in general can be a bit more costly due to the complex installation procedures.
Ductless Air Conditioning Unit – A ductless system removes the need to install complicated ductwork. Simple ductless units are window type AC units where the compressor and cooling unit are packaged into a single unit. A split-type system involves having an compressor installed outside the house and is then pumped back in the room through short and less structurally invasive conduits where the indoor unit blasts the cool air.
Buying an HVAC Unit
Identify your region’s climate – Does your location receive frigid winters and scorching summers? Do some research whether your location’s climate makes it worth the cost in buying a central heating unit. Air conditioning units are may be easier to decide on since warm to hot temperatures are often times more uncomfortable than cold temperatures.
Energy Efficiency – Everyone wants to save on energy bills but HVAC systems are inherently power-hungry appliances that can make a sizeable dent on your energy bills. Find out whether your chosen HVAC unit has an Energy Star rating. This means it has passed stringent qualifications to receive an ‘energy efficient’ branding and save you on monthly energy bills.
HVAC Inspection and Maintenance
An HVAC system naturally requires routine maintenance but due to the intricate nature of HVAC technology, you are likely better off not doing it yourself. Instead, your HVAC contractor will handle routine inspections and maintenance of your entire HVAC system, from the central heating and cooling units to the ventilation passages to ensure no obstructions or structural defects are present. They’ll also change the air filters and clean the ductwork to ensure your building’s indoor air quality is as fresh and contaminant free as it can be.
As has been discussed throughout this article, the ultimate purpose of an HVAC system to bring about optimal temperatures and air quality for its occupants. Depending on the nature of the building be it commercial, residential and even industrial, some buildings absolutely need a working HVAC system if they with to have ‘livable’ conditions inside. In short, HVAC systems are an integral part of modern infrastructure and as such require careful planning and understanding in order to maximize their effectiveness.