What Is an HVAC System? Upkeep, Shopping Tips, and More

H.V.A.C. is an acronym that stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. These initials stand for the functions that an H.V.A.C. system carries out in a building. The system is designed in a way that it can take control of the interior environmental conditions on the space that people live or work in. H.V.A.C. equipment is responsible for performing the heating and/or cooling in residential, industrial or commercial buildings. A properly maintained H.V.A.C. unit can provide a comfortable indoor environment year-round.

An H.V.A.C. system is designed in a way that enables it to control the environment in which it is installed. It manages to control it via heating and cooling. This system can also control the level of humidity in an internal environment through the control of the distribution and movement of air inside it. The system further ensures that the air present in a room is clean from contaminants, odors, and volatile organic compounds.


Types of H.V.A.C. Systems
HVAC systems come in various types and it is only factors like the home layout and climate of an area that determine the right type to use. Here are some of the main types of H.V.A.C. systems.


1. Standard Split System
Split H.V.A.C. systems have an indoor air handling unit as well as an outdoor condensing unit. This type is very common and is typically found in most residential or small commercial buildings for cooling purposes only. They can be configured in a number of ways to offer more options: heat pump split systems, dual fuel (hybrid) heat systems as well as the furnace and AC. The standard split H.V.A.C. systems are the most popular and affordable in the market. When one component of this system requires to be replaced, the replacement can be done easily without necessitating any major changes to existing components and ductwork.


2. Ductless Split Systems
A ductless split system is perfect to choose for a home that does not have any ductwork like an additional room. This type of system consists of a heat pump or an air conditioner on the outside and a fan that distributes air on the inside. This system is very efficient and comes with the zone climate control. It cannot be used in areas with cold climates as this system is not capable of hosting a furnace.


3. Geothermal H.V.A.C. Systems
Geothermal H.V.A.C. systems are costly than the rest but they lead to huge savings on energy costs due to their high efficiency. This system regulates temperature through underwater or underground pipe. The water mixed with refrigerant then makes its cycles via these pipes, picking up or giving off heat, depending on the season.


4. Packaged Systems

A packaged system is enclosed in a single big cabinet on the outside. The indoor air is usually “ducted” from inside the building to the outside-placed packaged system. It is then taken back inside the building via an air distribution system. This unit has a SEER rating that falls between 10 and 18. When heating is needed, an alternate method of gas or electric heating has to be used.


Three Main Heating Systems
A majority of homes depend on different types of heating systems to warm them up especially during the cold seasons. There are three main heating systems namely central heat systems, direct heat systems and state of the art heating systems. Central heat systems include furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers. Direct heat systems include gas-fired space heaters, electric space heaters, fireplaces, pellet stoves and wood-burning. State of the art heating includes collective heat and power, ductless, multi-split, mini-split and radiant floor heat.


About the AC
A large number of homes have air conditioning units especially in areas that have a warmer climate. The artificial breeze creating unit has a rich history from the time it was incepted. An AC is very important as it maintains suitable humidity all over the house, frees the air from dust, soot, microorganisms and ensure adequate ventilation in a building. An AC is a necessity in some parts of the world while in others it is considered as a luxury.


What to Inspect on an H.V.A.C. Unit
H.V.A.C. systems should be inspected twice a year in order to ward off costly issues later. It is recommended that the inspection is carried out by a certified professional to ensure that the system is working at its optimal condition. However, there are some inspections that an individual can perform on their own. The first step ought to be turning off the air conditioner and furnace for the duration of the inspection. Check if the thermostat is working well by checking whether both the cooling and heating systems turn off at their preset temperatures. Check for any loose connections as well as any kind of noises or squeaks during the inspection. The heat exchangers ought to be checked for any abnormal discoloration, cracks or deterioration.


H.V.A.C. Unit Shopping Tips
When looking to purchase a new H.V.A.C., it’s important to consider some helpful guide or shopping tips that help in cutting to the chase. A shopper should consider going for the energy-efficient units that are easily recognized due to their Energy Star labels. Going for a well known and trusted brand will be wise as such brands have withstood the test of time. In order to get the best price on the H.V.A.C. unit, a comparison ought to be made on the price quotes from various stores to choose the most reasonable.


H.V.A.C. Maintenance 101
Regular H.V.A.C. maintenance extends the lifespan of the unit and keeps it operating at the highest and proper efficiency. HVAC maintenance is necessary due to the continuous exposure to dirt of the different parts and components of the system. In order for the H.V.A.C. unit to continue operating at its best condition, the filter on the furnace should be changed regularly and checked by a certified contractor once a year. The boiler ought to be tuned up to allow for the burners to be cleaned and check for any leak signs of carbon monoxide. The filter in a ductless system ought to be removed, washed and then placed back.