The Basics of HVAC
What is HVAC?
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the technology of indoor environmental comfort. The purpose of the technology is to create thermal comfort and satisfactory indoor air quality. HVAC systems are designed by mechanical engineers utilizing the key principles of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transfer.
Heating, air conditioning and ventilation is an essential part of residential structures like homes, apartment buildings, even commercial buildings, travel lodging and the like. This technology is even used in vehicles like cars, airplanes, submarines and any other environment that requires temperature and humidity control, as well as fresh air from outdoors.
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What is Ventilation?
The process of replacing air within a specific space, or exchanging that air in order to facilitate the introduction of fresh, high quality air. This involves oxygen replenishment, moisture, odor and contaminant removal, which aids in the prevention of interior air stagnation.
There are generally two types of ventilation: Mechanically Forced and Natural.
Mechanically Forced Ventilation
Mechanical ventilation uses an air handler to control indoor air quality, as well as excess humidity, odor and other contaminants. Spaces where you will find this type of ventilation are most commonly bathrooms and kitchens, which have mechanical exhaust systems to properly control the environment.
Natural ventilation works just as it sounds. Air is allowed to travel naturally through mesh or gable style vents, windows, doors and other such openings. Warmer and more humid areas will likely need the help of an air conditioner to remove excess humidity and maintain comfortable thermal levels.
Packaged or Split System—What is the Difference?
Packaged systems are simply central air conditioning systems. These have an exterior, combined condenser and evaporator, which are commonly used in North American buildings and homes. Packed systems elsewhere are typically used in large indoor spaces like stadiums, cinemas and convention centers.
Alternately, split systems consist of interior and exterior coils, which are preferred and used heavily outside of North America. Split systems in North America are most often seen in residential applications, but are beginning to gain popularity in small commercial applications, as well.
With split systems the evaporator coil is linked to a remote condenser unit that uses refrigerant lines between an indoor and outdoor unit rather than directly ducting air from the exterior unit.
Split systems are often more efficient, and they take up less space, however, package systems can be far quieter, as the fan motor is outside.
In order to better the air quality within a given space a filter must be used to remove particulates, vapors and gases, and other contaminants from the air.
Filtering the debris from your air reduces the chance of health issues caused by pollutants that can trigger neurological problems, respiratory infections, and can aggravate asthma symptoms.
UV-C Light Air Purification
UV-C removes organic accumulation on coil surfaces on both the outer and inner surfaces. Likewise, it decontaminates drain pans, as well as other interior surfaces. Soon after the UV-C application, surfaces stay clean to maintain original specification conditions afterwards, so long as the lights are being maintained.
5 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing HVAC
1. Do I need to repair or replace my system?
This is the most common question to ask when thinking of purchasing a new unit. Every situation is different, but there are a few guidelines you can follow. If your system was made or installed before 2006, it is probably time to replace it. More likely than not, these systems do not meet the minimum energy efficiency standards and are not as energy efficient as the newer models.
2. What is the best way to heat and cool my home?
This depends on a few factors – where you live, the size of your home and personal preference. For example, if you are a resident living in the South – an energy efficient heat pump may be the right heating and cooling solution for you. In the North with colder winters – a matched furnaced and air conditioner system would be the better option.
3. What size HVAC system do I need?
Your energy savings and home comfort performance can be wasted or ruined if your new system does not fit your home accordingly. If the system is too big for the amount of square feet, you are essentially paying a premium for something you will not use. Too small and your system will not be able to keep up with the demand, which will end up burning more energy.
4. Do you offer any special financing, discounts or rebates?
Depending on where you live and which unit you choose to buy, you may be eligible for local rebates, tax credits, special financing, and other special offers unique to your area. Make sure to ask so you can budget properly.
5. Should I be concerned about my indoor air quality?
If you have pets or asthma sufferers living in your home, you must be cognizant of your indoor air quality. Whether that means a whole-home air filtration system or changing your filter more often, your local HVAC Specialists at Air Solutions can find the solution for you!
So, there it is. A run down of HVAC basics. We hope you learned a little something and are now more knowledgeable regarding your heating and air conditioning system. If you have questions regarding your HVAC system give us a call or reach out online. One of our comfort consultants will be happy to answer your questions, schedule an appointment, or assist in anyway we can.