HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. This catchall term refers to your home’s complete comfort system, which includes a furnace or heater, air ducts, and air conditioning unit.
Each part of the HVAC system works together to heat or cool and dehumidify the air in your home and then transports that air throughout your home via the ducts and ventilation system.
The heating part of your home’s system includes a furnace/heater, or an all-electric heat pump. Heaters/Furnaces supply heat to your home using gas or electricity similar to an electric hairdryer. A heat pump uses the outdoor unit to efficiently produce heat inside the home, by switching the flow of refrigerant from air conditioning to heating mode. Furnaces and heaters are typically located inside your house.
The cooling part of the system includes your air conditioner unit, which is located outside of your home. The AC unit works to remove heat from the air through a series of processes that convert a liquid to a gas. When hot air flows over the evaporation coils, the refrigerant liquid inside the coils absorbs heat as it is converted to a gas. The air conditioner then compresses this gas to a high pressure which creates more heat, so a second set of coils called a condenser rejects the heat from your house and compression outside. This is why you may notice hot air blowing out of your outdoor unit when you stand next to your air conditioner while it is running.
HVAC systems work to regulate the air temperature, humidity, and air quality in your home. A poorly functioning HVAC system can negatively impact your comfort, health, and pocketbook in a variety of ways. Dirty filters or ducts can lead to poor air quality that may increase asthma attacks, allergies or respiratory illnesses. Blocked vents or undersized ducts can make a system run longer and harder, shortening the HVAC system’s lifespan and consuming excess energy.
HVAC systems traditionally use a lot of energy. In fact, 44% of your utility bill goes toward heating and cooling. Energy-efficient systems are increasingly common, as well as HVAC accessories like programmable thermostats and zone control systems that ultimately reduce costs and energy consumption.
Regular maintenance ensures your system is functioning correctly. It’s common for dust and other allergens like pet hair to build up in your ventilation system. Duct cleaning will clear this debris to improve airflow and the quality of the air in your home. Installing a UV light will further improve the functionality of your system. UV lights kill tiny microbes of bacteria before they can travel through your ventilation system, which purifies and improves air quality.
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