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HVAC Systems 101

Uncategorized   |   January 01, 2018

HVAC systems are common and often necessary installations in residential and commercial establishments. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. HVAC systems regulate air temperature and air quality to an acceptable and comfortable level. Heating, as the name suggests, generates warmth for the building and is necessary for regions with cold weather. The heat is regulated through a central appliance such as furnaces or boilers.

Ventilation controls airflow and air quality through a system of filters, fans, and ductwork. Ventilation systems also manage indoor air quality levels by scrubbing air contaminants such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and any airborne contaminants through air filters. Indoor air quality is also managed by a series of fans that exchange indoor and outside air to ensure constant freshness of air and oxygen replenishment.

Both a central and standalone window type air conditioning system share the equal job of cooling the air and controlling humidity levels. Useful and vital against hot summer months, air conditioning is also an important aspect of regulating indoor air quality.

Listed below are the common components found in an HVAC system and their different roles.

Furnace
A furnace is a central heating unit and is the largest component of any HVAC system. There are many varieties of furnaces that utilize different types of fuel such as gas, solar energy, and even geothermal energy but the most common fuel is gas. A furnace extracts air, heats it inside the chamber, and is then circulated throughout the ventilation system.

Thermostat
Because of the thermostat’s crucial role in managing and controlling the entire HVAC system, it’s is the brain of all HVAC systems. It is the instrument that allows the operator to manually adjust or pre-program the desired temperature that the heating and air-conditioning units must comply with. You can manually adjust the thermostat’s settings or get one with an automated feature which detects the ambient temperature with temperature sensors and adjusts the heating or cooling to the ideal temperature. A newcomer in thermostat technology is the Wi-fi thermostat. It allows you to sync the thermostat with your mobile devices and adjust its settings whilst you’re away from your premises. Old and even some digital thermostats don’t provide the most accurate temperature reading. However, Wi-fi thermostat have integrated smart technology on its system and with the help of additional sensors, they can provide the most energy efficient and optimal temperature settings on a given day in any time of the year.

As for commercial establishments, they are often pre-programmed since anyone with access to the thermostat habitually inputs arbitrary temperature preferences that are not ideal for the establishment. To ensure predictable energy costs, thermostats are often secured in locked cases or simply stored away to ensure no one without proper clearance can tamper with the settings of a thermostat.

Evaporator Coil
An evaporator coil is a component attached to a condensing unit which is part of an air conditioning system. An evaporator coil works by pumping condensed liquid refrigerant onto the coil and which then turns to gas. The reason why it’s connected to a condensing unit is because the gaseous refrigerant is then pumped into the condensing unit where it’s then cooled and condenses back to liquid form.

Refrigerant Lines
The refrigerant lines is what connects the evaporator coil and condensing unit. As the name suggests, refrigerant lines carry the refrigerant between the two units. Refrigerant lines should not be confused with ductwork since refrigerant lines have smaller diameters and are often made from copper tubing.

Ductwork
Whilst refrigerant lines are smaller to transport liquid, ductworks are wide conduits designed to transport air. Ductworks made from lightweight aluminum are passages installed within the framework of the house. Ductworks are responsible for the transportation and distribution of cooled and heated air across the ventilation network. All of the primary HVAC components such as furnaces and air-conditioning units would be utterly useless without a ductwork system.

Conclusion
An HVAC system is composed of complex appliances that are connected by a maze of conduits. They must be seamlessly integrated onto the framework of the premises and to ultimately make it appear as a non-invasive construction. After all, it’s an eyesore to see piping and ductwork in your living room. All HVAC units are not made the same and you can fully expect that for years to come, HVAC technology will continue to evolve but the mechanical and conceptual principles will likely remain the same.

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