HVAC (Central Heating and Air Conditioning) 101


Sometimes we tend to go overboard with our HVAC technical talk when we really need to break it down in a more simple fashion. We talk shop with other HVAC experts and technicians all day, and we forget that you, the consumer, may not know the technical jargon we use or the ins and outs of your central heating and air conditioning system. Here, we hope to break down the basics for you, so you can get a better grasp of how your HVAC system works, why maintenance is important, and how you can keep it running optimally.

The ducts in your home are used to push either the hot air (from the heating system) or the cold air (from the cooling system) throughout your home. There is no separation for each system. The same ducts are used for whichever purpose suits them based on the weather outside. Heaters can be fueled by gas, oil, electricity, or even solar power. Proper insulation is the key to reduced energy bills and heating or cooling a home adequately. Up to 60% of your home’s heated or cooled air can be lost due to poor insulation.

In terms of heaters, you can typically find your home’s primary heating appliance in the basement. Other homes may have this in the attic. These systems push the hot air (usually steam) through the ducts and out either vents or radiators. You air conditioner will work by removing heat from the air, and it operates on basic principles of refrigeration. Systems that utilize a heat pump are optimal.

Sometimes using a central heating and air conditioning system in your home can cause health problems. These systems tend to dry out the air in your home. If you have someone living in your home that has asthma or other respiratory issues, this may be a problem. A humidifier may be needed to compensate for the lack of moisture in the air. Other health issues can arrive due to improper or poor HVAC maintenance. For example, if your ducts are not cleaned routinely, you could be circulating pollen, mold, dust, dirt, and more throughout your entire home. For those with allergies or respiratory issues, this could be a huge problem.

As with any other large purchase, the person you choose to buy from and to install the system can make or break the deal altogether. Choose someone who carries reputable brands, and who is reputable themselves. This will ensure that you can trust the company to install the system properly, making sure it is running as efficiently as possible. If properly cared for, and properly installed, your system can last you up to 12 years.