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While most people know what the acronym HVAC means, few can explain how these systems actually work. So, what is HVAC? HVAC stands for heating, ventilating and air conditioning. Most of us take it for granted that our heating and cooling devices will emit warm and cool air as requested. Yet a thorough understanding of these systems is important in case any maintenance needs arise. Let’s take a look at the intricacies of HVAC to help improve our understanding of this technology that is so vital to the quality of our lives.

What is HVAC: The Ins and Outs

Air conditioners and heaters seem like highly complex devices that often intimidate laymen. Yet the average person really is capable of gaining an understanding of these machines. Even a minimal understanding of HVAC can empower a homeowner or business owner to gauge the nature and severity of a problem when attempting to implement a temporary fix until an HVAC technician is available.

HVAC systems are designed with air return vents to generate clean, high quality air of a certain temperature. A fan sucks air in through a return and filter. This air is then heated or cooled to the desired temperature. It is imperative that owners of HVAC equipment regularly clean the air returns of dust and grime. They should also switch out the filters as the owner’s manual instructs to maintain optimal performance.

The HVAC system receives its air flow from an outdoor fan unit. If your property has grass positioned by the fan unit, you should mow it on a regular basis and remove shrubs/weeds that have grown nearby. This outdoor fan contains a compressor that transforms a gas refrigerant to a liquid that travels to the coils. These coils are commonly located on the outdoor unit. The refrigerant runs through these coils to cool air collected in the system. These coils must be inspected and cleaned at least once per year.

What is HVAC: Air Conditioning

HVAC creates cold air and the proper level of humidity with conduction or convection that removes heat. The system makes use of water, ice and/or air as refrigerants along with a free cooling system to lower air temperature to the desired level. A thermodynamic refrigeration cycle cools the air and sends it into the building’s ducts and out through the vents.

What is HVAC: Heating

HVAC systems heat buildings with a furnace, boiler or heat pump that warms air, steam or water in a central space such as a furnace/mechanical room. A vent sucks in outdoor air and sends it to a heat exchanger to produce air pressure. The warm air is then transmitted to the building through conduction or convection.

Heating systems generate exhaust that can compromise the health of those in your home as well as the quality of your home’s air. These systems must be consistently maintained to ensure high air quality. The exhaust outlets are especially important. Check these at least once per year to prevent exhaust from accumulating. Of critical importance is the HVAC system’s ductwork. If the flow of air is impeded with a pile of dust, dirt or other impurities, a thorough cleaning will be necessary. Ducts should always be cleaned every two years at a minimum.

The Comfort You’ve Long Desired

Every homeowner and business owner deserves an efficient HVAC system. It warms, cools and filters air to provide the ultimate indoor living and working environment. An HVAC system is absolutely worth the initial investment. Once you experience the luxurious comfort provided by HVAC, you’ll wonder how you lived so many years without it.