HVAC systems are complicated and have many parts. If you wondering how do HVAC systems works, click here and read this guide for proper cooling and heating.
Whether you realize it or not, your HVAC system could be accounting for 40% or more of your annual energy bill. An inefficiency in your system could send your bill skyrocketing without giving you the heat or cooling you were expecting. If you’re wondering “how do HVAC systems work”, you won’t be able to even diagnose the issue.
While most solutions for your HVAC system require an expert to help you, if you know what to look for, you can replace broken parts before your bill goes up. There are elements that should be replaced every few seasons and others that should last 10 years with only minimal maintenance. Simple maintenance that you can do during the off-season could help your system stay efficient all year long.
If you want to know the answer to the question “how do HVAC systems work”, get acquainted with these 8 elements to a functioning system.
Your thermostat is your interface with your HVAC system. It’s the part of the system you’ll spend the most time interacting with and is basically the nerve center of the system. Tell your thermostat what temperature you’re looking for and it should respond in kind.
Some thermostats have digital interfaces that allow you to set the temperature for day and night or different times of the year. Others have a dial connected to a thermometer that will turn your system on when the temperature exceeds a certain threshold. The dial systems are a little less exact but work just as well as the digital systems.
When the thermostat tells the system to engage, a heat exchanger is triggered during winter months. During summer months, the coil-condensing unit of your evaporator will start circulating cold air around the building.
If your thermostat isn’t working, you won’t feel the temperature that you’re seeking when you set it. When the calibration is off, the system will work too hard or not hard enough. Your thermostat is your entryway into discovering “how do HVAC systems work”.
Your furnace is one of the largest components of your HVAC system. You’ll need to set aside substantial space either in a closet or a basement for it to sit. Some furnaces fit inside of an attic.
Your furnace is tasked with heating air that then gets distributed throughout your home via the system.
One common system will burn natural gas, coal, or propane to create the air. A filtration system will keep you from breathing in the toxic portion of the air. This is called a combustion system.
There are other types of systems available like an electric resistance system, a heat pump based system, or a system that’s structured around on-site solar energy.
3. Heat Exchanger
The heat exchanger is a component that’s found inside the housing of your furnace’s main body. When your thermostat tells the exchanger to switch on, the furnace will produce heat and start blowing or forcing warm air through your system.
The heat exchanger sucks cool air into the system to be heated and then pushed through your ducts. Blocking your heat exchanger will restrict how much air can get into your system and is available to heat your building.
4. Evaporator Coil
The evaporator coil does a job that’s inverse to the work done by your heat exchanger. The coil cools the air that’s pulled into the system. When your thermostat signals to the air conditioning unit that it’s too hot, it will switch on.
Your coil could be mounted to the exterior of your furnace inside of a metal enclosure depending on your system. It works similar to a car’s radiator and produces cool air which is then circulated through the ducts.
5. Condensing Unit
The condenser is connected to your system via the evaporator coil. Your condenser is a large unit that is typically installed outside your home and is filled with refrigerant gas. When the air outside changes the state to turn it into a liquid via the heat exchanger, the condenser pumps the liquid into the evaporator coil to turn it back into a gas.
6. Refrigerant Lines
You need to make sure your refrigerant lines are in good shape to carry your refrigerant to the condensing unit as vaporized gas. It is then returned to the evaporator coil as a liquid. These are usually narrow tubes made out of aluminum or copper.
Because they need to be durable and withstand temperature fluctuations, those metals are the most reliable.
Your refrigerant lines will be doing a lot of work during the most humid months of the year.
This is the general term used to describe the system of ducts throughout your building that transport the warm or cool air all around. If you’re using any kind of forced air system, you’ll need a tightly secured system of ducts to move the air around without losing it along the way.
Typical ducts are constructed out of lightweight aluminum for durability and the ability to withstand temperature fluctuations. They can be made out of plastic, fiberglass, or fabric, but metal ducts tend to be the most efficient.
Vents are the end of the line where you get the air that heats or cools your home. These are typically rectangular outlets that let the hot or cool air into the rooms of your home.
Vents can be located on the ceiling or on the floor and have slats that allow you to point the air in different directions.
If one room needs more air than the other, you usually have the option to close or open them as needed. Your vents are not only part of “how do HVAC systems work” but also tell you when they’re working.
Wondering How Do HVAC Systems Work?
One of the best ways to learn about your HVAC system is to ask your professional. While you don’t want to interrupt them when they’re working, you can ask basic questions to get a better understanding of the system. They can give you maintenance tips and let you know when something could be at risk for failure.
If you want to know more about keeping your HVAC system running efficiently, check out our guide on furnace efficiency.