Understanding Your Home’s HVAC System: What HVAC Means?
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HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It may also be referred to as your home's heating and cooling system. Overall your HVAC system is comprised of components designed to work together to provide comfort and improved indoor air quality in your home.
There are multiple options and types of HVAC systems. Still, they all will operate similarly by taking in the fresh air and filtering it through a mechanical ventilation system. After being filtered, air will be conditioned and forced into the home. Most commonly, the air will be delivered through a series of ductwork in the home or through a series of indoor handlers, as is the case with mini splits.
All HVAC systems will contain a unit that provides heating, such as a furnace or boiler, an air conditioning unit, ductwork, and moisture vents.
Different Types of Residential HVAC Systems
Standard split systems are the most common HVAC system for residential use, but other options may be more suitable for your needs. Below is a quick look at each HVAC option and the pros and cons you can expect with each one.
Standard Split System
Split systems are the most common HVAC system in a home and consist of two separate components. One component takes care of the home’s heating, and the other is the cooling or air conditioning system. The complete system is controlled by a thermostat which will control the temperature of the whole house, triggering the system to turn on and off as needed for the desired temperature to be reached.
Traditionally, the heating unit in a split system will be located in an indoor storage space. This is most often the basement or utility closet. The heating element is gas-powered and utilizes a fan and evaporator coil to transport heat through the home. The cooling system of a standard split unit is typically outside and connected to the inside ductwork through the tubing. The outdoor unit comprises coils, compressors, and refrigerant, which will generate the cool air pushed back into the home, and a fan to direct the warm air outside.
Pros of a split system include:
- The indoor units are quiet.
- They have built-in humidity control.
- They can be effective in any climate.
Drawbacks to these types of systems are:
- The outdoor units are noisy.
- They require a lot of space.
- They are costly to install.
Hybrid Split System
A hybrid split system is very similar to a traditional split system, except the heating system portion does not solely rely on gas for the heat generation. The system will burn gas when more power is needed and switch to electric when a less powerful option will do.
The benefits of a hybrid system are:
- You have greater control over your energy consumption.
- They use traditional ductwork and thermostats, which are likely installed in your home.
- People in mild climates will have lower energy costs.
Cons to a split system are:
- They can have a higher upfront cost.
- They aren’t as efficient in more extreme climates.
Packaged Heating And Cooling
A packaged system is a heating and air conditioning system that is a little less common but still a good option for some homeowners who live in modible or manufactured homes, though you won’t typically find it in other types of homes. In a packaged system, all of the elements for heating and cooling will be contained in one unit, which can be stored on the roof or outside close to the home. The packaged system will be connected to the ductwork in the home through a hole in the wall.
Even though they are less common, packaged systems have some unique benefits.
- They are easier and less costly to install.
- Your entire HVAC system is located in one spot.
- They require less maintenance.
- They are designed to fit in a small space.
There are some drawbacks to this HVAC option as well.
- They are prone to damage from bad weather if stored outdoors or on a roof.
- They can be hard to get to for maintenance if located on a roof.
A zoned system is an air system ideal for those looking to control the temperature differently in various areas of the home. Zoned systems may be ducted by installing manual or automatic dampers in the air duct system, which will open and close depending on which zone the air needs to be delivered to.
Zoned systems can also be ductless systems, such as the case with multi-zone mini splits. With these systems, an indoor air handler will be mounted in each zoned area. These handlers will then be connected to a multi-circuit outdoor unit.
Some of the advantages of choosing a zoned system include:
- They are incredibly energy efficient.
- They allow you to control the comfort in individual areas in the home.
The main drawbacks of zoned systems are:
- They are more expensive to install. Maintenance can be more challenging.
How Heat Pumps Work
Another type of HVAC system is a heat pump. Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling for your home. The system works by using mechanical energy to remove heat from the air and transfer it inside when your home is too cold and outside when it is too warm. While there are multiple source options for heat pumps, the most commonly used ones are air source.
Heat pumps have many advantages over other systems, such as:
- Lower overall energy use, which translates into lower utility bills.
- Less maintenance which can lower your overall operating costs.
- They are environmentally-friendly since they use electricity instead of fossil fuels.
While the benefits are many there are a few issues to consider when making your decisions. The primary one being that they are not always as effective in areas that see extreme temperature fluctuations. In some cases, the system can be more costly to install than other options.
The Difference Between AC And HVAC
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It is a complete system that provides heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and moisture control for an entire home or commercial building. All HVAC systems have some form of air conditioning unit with them, but not all air conditioning systems are considered HVAC units.
Some contractors consider an AC unit a system that conditions the air, either hot or cold, but most homeowners consider an air conditioning system a unit designed to deliver cooled air to your home. Therefore, an air conditioning system without a heating component would not be considered an HVAC system.
The Benefits of an HVAC System
Central heating and central air systems have many benefits, including improved comfort and indoor air quality. Some of the most significant benefits homeowners will enjoy when they install a complete HVAC system include:
Improved Indoor Air Quality
The air quality in your home is often 3 to 4 times worse than the outside air. The primary reason for this is less airflow in your home. This, combined with a wide range of concentrated pollutants, such as dust and VOCs, can create an environment that negatively affects those with asthma or allergy symptoms.
With an HVAC system, the indoor air is constantly exchanged with fresh outdoor air, and pollutants in the home will be trapped in the air filter, helping to clean it further before pushing it out into the rooms in your home.
Having an HVAC system in your home means you will have cooled, conditioned air when you need it and warm air delivered when it gets cold outside. A complete system controlled by one thermostat makes it easy to maintain a consistent and comfortable temperature every season, even in areas with significant temperature fluctuations.
Greater Energy Conservation
Installing a complete HVAC system is significantly more costly than installing a furnace or air conditioner. But, you will save a significant amount on your utility bills within the first year after installation. When your heating and cooling are combined, the power usage is less. Using a thermostat to maintain a consistent temperature will allow for fewer fluctuations, which causes your system to work harder. Also, the fact that both units are designed to be compatible will lead to greater efficiency and more optimal heating and cooling.
Moisture retention in your home is inevitable, no matter your climate. The air inside your home will not circulate as often as outdoor air and is rarely exchanged with the fresh, dry air outside. Because of this, your home will more easily mold and mildew along floors, walls, and even the ceiling unless you find a way to draw in dry air and improve indoor circulation. This is where the HVAC system comes into play. The AC portion of an HVAC system naturally works to remove excess humidity from your home through condensation on the evaporator coil. This will lower your chance of mold growth and the respiratory risks that come with it.
Superior Home Supplies Has the Right HVAC System for Your Home
Looking for an HVAC supplier near me to find the perfect system for your home. The knowledgeable HVAC specialists at Superior Home Supplies are ready to help. Contact Superior Home Supplies today or check out their current inventory of HVAC systems.