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What Is An HVAC System?



The central systems in your house that help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer are what is known as an HVAC System.  HVAC, or Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, is a home's central air and heat system.  If you have had an HVAC Technician repair or perform a check up on your unit, you have probably heard them mention specific parts.  Sometimes folks are wary if a part actually exists, what it does or why it's important but don't ever question the worker about it.  If you ever have any questions about your system or how it's supposed to run, never hesitate to ask!

There are actually 9 components to your basic HVAC system that need to be maintained to achieve complete efficiency and keep your energy bills reasonable.  Let's take a quick look at them!

FURNACE
The furnace is the heating unit for your system.  It can run off of electricity or natural gas and is usually found in your basement, utility room or even your garage.  The main function of a furnace is to heat up air and distribute it through the ducts in your home.  The ducts are usually hidden in your ceilings and walls but you will see the vents for them.  Always keep your vents unobstructed and clean to maintain ultimate efficiency. 

HEAT EXCHANGER
This is a crucial component to your home's heating system.  The heat exchanger is the actual device that converts the cool air into the warm air for heating your home.  It is NOT part of the furnace but is located inside the furnace. 


HEAT PUMP
The heat pump is for both the air conditioning unit and the heating unit.  It pumps hot air out of your home in summer and pulls hot air inside during the winter.

Now we move more towards the Air Conditioning side of things...

EVAPORATOR COIL
This beauty does two things at once: it allows compressed cooling agents (refrigerants like Freon) to evaporate from liquid to gas and simultaneously absorbs heat and air from the inside of your home.  This process is what turns your warm air to cooler, dry air.  It is then pushed through the ducts to cool the inside of your home.  An evaporator coil can be found either attached to your furnace or inside the air handler.

CONDENSING UNIT
The condensing unit is the sister to the evaporator coil.  It does the same thing in principle but reversed.  When the refrigerant (like Freon) circulates back into the condenser coil, it releases its heat load.  The refrigerant continues its journey back around towards the evaporator coil while the condensing unit blows that heat out of your home.  The condensing unit is located on the outside of your house, usually on the side, so it can expel the heat.  Think of it as a massive exhaust pipe for the home.

REFRIGERANT TUBES
These are what connects your evaporator coil to your condensing coil.  They are usually made of metal (copper) and hold/carry the refrigerant (like Freon) that is used in the evaporator/condensing process.


DUCTS
Air ducts allow the conditioned air or the heated air to spread throughout the home. These are usually found in your attic or ceiling space but can also be found in walls.

VENTS
These are the most visible part of your HVAC System.  You see these air vents on walls and floors.  They allow warm or cool air to pass into your home from the ductwork.

THERMOSTAT
A small device mounted on a wall that controls the temperature and whether you want hot or cool air to pass through your home.  There is never an exact spot for them but your best bet is to spot them in a living room/dining room or main hallway.  They can be manual or even smart-programmed. 

By knowing a bit more about the main components of your system, you can better understand when an issue arises or why it needs to be addressed quickly.  When in doubt, always ask your HVAC Repair and Installation Company what they are doing and why.  These professionals want to make sure you are completely satisfied and will have no trouble explaining troubles within your system. 

 


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