HVAC Basics

Heating, ventilation, and Air conditioning (HVAC) is an industry term that relates to a broad range of systems that control the temperature of indoor air. The purpose of HVAC is to provide acceptable indoor air quality and thermal comfort in a residential, commercial, and industrial setting. There are three distinct classes of HVAC systems, namely, an evaporative-solution device (ESD), a forced-air unit (FAU), and a heat pump. An ESD system can be either gas or electric-cooled, and uses heat pump techniques to move air. A FAU is a closed system that cools by taking air through a sealed valve and delivers it through ductwork.

HVAC For Your Home

In order to understand HVAC basics, it is helpful to learn a little history. HVAC first became popular in the 1970s as an alternative to central air heating and cooling. HVAC offers significant cost savings over central air conditioners (compressor-based models) and other cooling technologies. Homeowners, however, should know that HVAC does not provide “free air”, only better indoor air quality through lower energy consumption.

Some of the common components found in HVAC systems are the air ducts, heating and cooling systems, evaporative coolers, and heat pumps. An air conditioner uses Freon to trap heat from the atmosphere and transfers it to the house through refrigeration. Heating units use electricity, oil, or coal to heat water, which is then circulated through pipes in HVAC vents. Ventilating equipment removes moisture and dust from indoor air to improve its thermal comfort. A heat pump uses the principles of geothermal heat pump to provide both heating and cooling, without the use of fossil fuels.

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