What are HVAC systems?
HVAC is the shorter term for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. HVAC systems enable you to have proper control over the heating as well as the cooling temperatures of your home. They are also commonly known as ductless AC units, boilers, central air conditioners, heat pumps, or furnaces. Sometimes, they are also available in combined packages offering heating and cooling in the same unit.
What are the different components of HVAC systems?
Whether you need to install a new HVAC system or just replace a heating or a cooling unit, you need to understand the basic components of an HVAC unit. These are as follows:
Split units of heating and cooling systems:
Split units are the most common among the HVAC systems. Such units have two separate systems. While one is used to cool your home, the other unit provides the required heat. Normally, they contain an indoor unit, for example; a furnace, and an outdoor unit, for example; a central air conditioner.
The central air conditioner unit is equipped with a refrigerant, coils, and compressor to cool the air. It also comes with a fan that pulls the hot air out of your home. Such systems are normally regulated by a thermostat that is centrally located in the home.
An efficient central air conditioner distributes cool air through the ducts. The most common design is the split system where the refrigerant circulates the air between the indoor and an appropriate outdoor condenser and compressor. The refrigerant will cool the air at first and then dehumidify it.
Following this, the internally mounted fan will circulate the air using the ducts. You need to select the required temperature and the thermostat will help you regulate it. One of the variants, in this case, is the heat pump, the system that functions both as heater and air conditioner.
Split System (Hybrid):
Hybrid systems save energy since they are equipped with a hybrid electric heater system. This allows you to choose between whether you want to use electric power or gas power to keep your home heated. These hybrid split heating and cooling systems are an excellent purchase for areas having unpredictable climate changes, especially during the fall. These systems can help you to save money by reducing your energy bill expenses.
Mini Split Ductless AC Systems:
Such systems have multiple units which are situated in different rooms, giving you properly controlled heating and cooling temperatures. The small split units are mounted on the walls and linked to compressors which lie outside the homes. Though you will find it easy to install such units but they are usually a little bit expensive.
These systems come with blower units which are also known as air handlers. Basically, the air gets distributed through these handlers. Split systems are costlier as compared to window air conditioners. It is advised that you seek professional assistance when installing them.
These split systems come with blower units, which are also known as air handlers. These help distribute the air throughout the room they are placed in. Though you will find these types of AC systems less costly, they are not meant for whole-home coverage.
Heating and Air Conditioner Packaged Combinations:
Packaged Heating and Air Conditioner systems offer high-quality heating and cooling combined into one unit to keep your home comfortable year round. These packages heat up and cool down a home by using only one unit and offer an energy-efficient solution for homes in regions with warmer climates.
Buying a central air conditioner:
If the rising temperatures during the summers are driving you crazy, be assured that you are not alone. In the US, more than 75% of the households use air conditioning and among the newly built homes, 90% are equipped with central air.
As eco-conscious producers and consumers, it is very gratifying to know that the air conditioners manufactured today are more energy-efficient. This means less money out of pocket while you enjoy a more comfortable home.
Here are the important factors that you need to consider while selecting a central air conditioner:
The central air conditioner that you choose should be appropriate to the size of your house. The size also refers to the cooling capacity of an air conditioner. So, make sure you obtain a clear idea of the capacity of the central air conditioner before you decide to buy the perfect one for your home.
The measurement of size is done in terms of tons of British thermal units per hour. Thus, 12, 000 Btu/hr. equals 1 ton of cooling.
Efficiency refers to the amount of cooling a particular unit delivers on using each watt of electricity. It is expressed as SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Most people decide to purchase an efficient air conditioner not only to save on costs, but also to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.
13 to 16 SEER: Single-stage ACs. Most single-stage models range from 13 to 16 SEER. Single-stage units run at full capacity when turned on. They tend to turn on an off more often, which can contribute to warm/cold imbalances.
16-20 SEER: Two-stage ACs. Most two-stage models are paired with variable-speed blowers that enhance indoor comfort. Running the power on the lower end (35%-40%) produces better temperature balance and improved humidity control.
19-26 SEER: Most units in this efficiency range have variable-capacity compressors. This means they can switch between speeds from as low as 25% to 100% depending on brands and models. These units help keep your homes’ climate perfectly balanced between cool and dry by precisely running the air conditioner or heat pump at the correct capacity.
Always make sure that your unit is under regular checks by experienced, professional contractors. Consult reputed companies to book service plans that include regular inspections with discounted repairs.
Also, see to it that the labor warranty is combined within the plan. Since the costs of such services vary widely, consider doing a market survey to find the best team of contractors with good service, reputation, and positive customer feedback.
If you use a programmable thermostat properly, your cooling expenditure might get reduced by around 10%. Also, when you are using a ceiling or a box fan, it might be costly but can increase cooling by approximately 3°F to 4°F.
Buying a gas furnace:
When the chilly winter season is around the corner, what better to ask for than an efficient home heating system? When it comes to purchasing a superior quality and energy-efficient furnace, you need to know about the main characteristics and features of the furnace.
You will see many buildings with built-in furnaces in their foundation. With a little bit of hard work, you can modernize such systems to enjoy better warmth and comfort. Since most of the furnaces operate using natural materials, they do not release harmful gases into the surroundings.
Here are the important factors that you need to consider while choosing a gas furnace:
Make sure that the specifications or features of the furnace suit your needs and requirements. If you buy a furnace that is too small, it will not be able to keep your home warm and comfortable during the chilled winter season. Too big of a furnace will turn on and off frequently, which can contribute to climate imbalances.
This leads to energy waste, overutilization of its components, and might also vary the temperature to a great degree. To confirm the size, you need to consult a reputable HVAC contractor and get your heating needs calculated as per the industry standards.
Having an appropriately sized system is crucial for your comfort. Systems that are too large or too small, will not provide adequate heat and can get exhausted within a brief time. Get in touch with a professional installer who will conduct a Manual J-Load calculation to determine the right system for your home. This is measured in tons or BTUs. This calculation involves your entire home, starting from square footage to window efficiency.
Many of the central heating systems that are currently manufactured use natural gas, a popular choice for heating fuel. How much a furnace is transforming gas into heating energy is expressed in an AFUE rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), reflected in percentage.
The higher the percentage, the more heat the furnace can extract from the gas fuel. For example, a furnace that has a 75% AFUE rating can turn 75% of the energy into heat. However, the other 25% will be used during the heating process. You might also consider efficient furnaces since they generate lower emissions and are considered environmentally friendly.
The different areas of your home can get hotter or colder depending on construction and location factors. If you place the thermostat near a naturally hotter or colder spot in your house, you will experience climate imbalances throughout your home. If you try to solve this problem by setting up pre-regulated temperatures, you will end up using more energy.
A zoning system will solve both issues. Zoning systems break your home into several systems known as zones’ and each zone is regulated by a particular thermostat. Additionally, the dampers in the ducts can open or close the access to various zones so that temperatures at different spots in your home remain the same. This will also make sure that the right amount of energy is being used to keep your home warm and comfortable.
Indoor air quality:
A furnace is normally accompanied by a furnace blower that distributes air throughout your home. The indoor air quality systems inside the ducts help to generate clean air. Make sure that you get the filters reviewed and repaired regularly by the contractors. Make sure to also do your part by changing the filters of your furnace once before the heating and cooling season.
Furnace blowers are typical of two kinds: fixed speed blower and a variable-speed blower. The second type of speed blowers is more beneficial and ideal for supreme comfort. These blowers alter the speed while distributing air to the various regions of your home. This means that the air, present throughout the home, has a stable temperature and the blower unit works without creating much noise.
The price of your new furnace takes into account the size of the unit, air quality features, and installation charges. Think of your new furnace purchase as an investment in not only your home’s comfort, but your health as well so don’t compromise yourself by purchasing based on hasty decisions.
Heating systems are intricately designed and involve a range of components, therefore you should avoid installing it on your own. A poorly installed unit will not perform up to its full capabilities.
Investing in a new HVAC system is a big decision that should be weighed carefully with the right information. This buying guide has featured all the factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing your next HVAC system for your home. Remember that having your HVAC unit serviced and repaired by a notable heating and air company is essential for proper upkeep.
Now that you have this buying guide, you can feel confident about making your new HVAC purchase for all your heating and cooling needs.