HVAC is a shortened way to referring to systems that control Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Any time you turn on your air conditioner to cool your home, or turn up the heat during the winter, you are using an HVAC system.
HVAC systems are designed and set up to control the environment around them. The way it works is by using cooling and heating elements to control the temperature. The ventiliation part of the system also helps it to control humidity levels, and air movement and distribution. Properly maintained systems also make sure the air it distributes is clean before sending it out.
How do HVAC Systems Work?
There are three major types of HVAC systems. Each of them work differently and have specific strengths and weaknesses. The type of environment you live in will change what sort of HVAC system will work best for you.
- Split and Window Air Conditioning
Window AC units work by blowing air through the system coils. This makes it easy for the unit to separate hot and cold. Heat gets vented outside while cold air gets pushed into the nearby room.
Split units are useful for larger areas than window units. This type of air conditioning splits the hot and cold air apart and puts it in different parts of the system. The cold side of the unit is equipped with a cold coil and expansion valve. The cold coil is the part of the system that absorbs heat and vents it outside, while the expansion valve controls how that coil absorbs heat. These types of units are usually installed along with a furnace or another type of air handler. The handler then distributes cold air through building air ducts and into a number of connected rooms.
- Combined Heating and Air Conditioning
Combined units have both heating and cooling capabilities built into the way the system works. These are often installed on rooftops, in mechanical rooms, or near conditioning vents.
Everything in a combined system is connected. The air conditioning part of your system relies on your home’s electricity to cycle refrigerant, which is what allows the unit to cool your home. The heating part of the system also typically relies on electricity to warm attached heat strips and then blow air over those strips. This allows it to distribute warm air all over your home.
- Central Air Conditioning
Most homes rely on Central Air Conditioning to keep their environments cool. These are almost like even larger split systems. A separate unit contains a cooling fan, compressor, and condenser coil in one condensing unit. Evaporator coils come with an indoor unit that is normally installed on a furnace.
This type of system also uses electricity to power all of the relevant parts. The external unit pumps refrigerant through the system, which allows it to take heat out of the home and pump it outside. This helps to remove moisture and heat that collects indoors. The refrigerant then passes through another device that cools it and makes it possible to distribute cool air throughout the home.