Air Conditioning & Heating

The term HVAC is not something we haven’t heard of, as we have some basic knowledge of it. However, what does HVAC mean? How is it applicable to our houses? HVAC systems are the automatic building air conditioning systems that provide us with thermal comfort and a pleasant indoor environment.

How does the HVAC work?
An HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system has three jobs:
1. The Heating process is brought about by using radiators or air systems to keep the air inside the building warm.
2. Ventilation is done to keep the air clean and breathable. Ventilation is accomplished by retaining unpolluted air in place and removing the polluted air from it. Apart from this, it also helps keep out the extra moisture and make the air inside regulate with fans.
3. Air-Conditioning brings a drop in the temperature and also maintains an adequate amount of humidity using water-cooled systems or air-cooled systems.

What are the main components of an HVAC system?
The primary components of any HVAC system that maintains the temperature and indoor air quality are listed below:
• Mixed-air plenum and outdoor air control
• Air filter
• Supply fan
• Exhaust and an air outlet
• Outdoor air intake
• Ducts
• Terminal devices
• Return air system
• Heating and cooling coils
• Self-contained heating or cooling unit
• Cooling tower
• Boiler
• Control
• Water chiller
• Humidification and dehumidification equipment

Types of HVAC systems
HVAC systems come in different sizes, shapes, and types – so how do we choose the right one according to our home? Before anything else, let’s take a look at the four most commonly used HVAC systems:

1. Standard Split Systems
The most popular and residential-friendly HVAC system is the standard split system. One of its parts is fitted outside and the other one on the inside. Installing an HVAC system that best fits our home’s climate can be customized by structuring split systems in different ways.
• Furnace and air conditioner:
If you’re living in a cold climate, then gas furnaces are the more attractive choice since they are economical. In areas where the sun never seems to go down – radiating its sunshine to the fullest- there is a need to install an AC with a greater SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) rating. Every air-conditioner model differs in its quality of efficiency. The air-conditioner’s condensing unit is installed on the outside.
• Air handler and heat pump:
Heat pump split systems are generally installed in areas with a higher temperature. The heat pump plays its role as an air conditioner as well as a furnace used for heating. They are almost similar to an air conditioner except that they have only one operational unit, which can be used in a reversed manner when the climate changes from hot to cold and vice versa.
• Furnace and heat pump:
Since both furnace and heat pumps are heat sources, this split system is called dual fuel or hybrid heat systems using two sources of heat. They are exemplary for a frigid climate, whereas heat pumps are efficient for moderately cold climates.

• Pros and Cons of Split Systems
Split systems come with multiple options and are the most economical HVAC system type, specifically when it comes to replacement. Their new parts can be installed with minor or no amendments/variations/adjustments to the home’s existing air pathways. These two-steps and modulating split systems maximize internal climate control. The disadvantage of the conventional split system is that they require ductwork, and in places where ductwork is nearly impossible or not cost-efficient, it is impossible to install them.

2. Ductless Split Systems (or ductless mini-split systems)
Ductless split systems (or ductless mini-split systems) may comprise a heat pump used for both heating and cooling purposes or an air conditioner having its operational unit installed externally and is for cooling purposes only. Furnaces are excluded when it comes to ductless split systems. Moreover, the internal part is either mounted on a wall, ceiling, or floor.
• Pros and Cons of Ductless Split Systems
Ductless split systems are popular in places with no ductwork. Its most significant advantage is that one of its components is installed outside the home or workplace, which supplies fresh air to four indoor operational units. Every unit can be controlled with its thermostat for proper, zoned climate control. The performance of a ductless system varies from good to perfect, decreasing cost and energy use. The drawback of a ductless split system is that they do not offer as many options with the standard split systems and may not be efficient when it comes to cold, harsh climates.

3. Packaged Systems
As the name describes, a packaged system is where all the essential parts are located in one large cabinet. They are well-known for the houses without any basements. Their packaged unit is always installed outside the home. Every packaged system consists of a blower that draws processed air inside the house and forces unprocessed air into the system. However, every unit has a different method for treating the air.
• Pros and Cons of Packaged Systems
Packaged systems are taken into consideration only when split systems cannot be installed. Their advantage is that they create less noise pollution since their operational units are outdoor. The drawback of them is that they do not come with as many options as the conventional and ductless split system and are more inefficient. Another disadvantage of it is that they get worn out quicker than other HVAC systems as it is installed outside the home.

HVAC system selection
System selection revolves around three significant factors comprising:
• the climate conditions
• building framework/structure, and
• the owner’s desire

How much does an HVAC installation or replacement cost?
On average, the replacement cost ranges between $4820 to $9350, and if ductwork is included along with AC and a gas furnace, you may have to pay somewhere between $6820 to $12,350. The price also depends on the brand you choose to install. You can also get a free estimate of the overall cost.

How long do HVAC systems last?
Buying a heating or a cooling system is a serious investment, and all we want is to make this investment last. On average, the HVAC systems won’t run out before 15 to 25 years. However, their lifetime estimate depends on the kind of system and other factors. Even when we take all the precautionary measures to make the most out of your investment like going for frequent HVAC maintenance and repairs, over time, even the best furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, and heat pumps will get worn out too.

Benefits of having your HVAC system professionally installed
We always want to opt for the DIY as our first option, but some things should be left for the professionals to do for a reason. Here are some pros of getting a qualified HVAC professional to set up and maintain your HVAC system:
• No Manual Labor for the Homeowner
The best part of letting the professionals do their job is that you do not need to get involved in any sort of tiring physical work like climbing on the roof, lifting heavy parts, pouring concrete, and other heavy-handed tasks. All you would need to do is mark the job as complete and pay the fee.
• No Legwork Required
Furthermore, not only do HVAC professionals facilitate installing the new HVAC unit, but they also help with all the paperwork without you worrying about it. In most local areas, it is essential to take permission from the government before advancements to the house. This includes changing out old or installing new large-scale appliances, such as cooling or heating systems.
HVAC professionals and contractors make things easier and quicker for you by taking the responsibilities off your shoulder and upon theirs like taking permissions for you.
• Professional Upkeep
Another advantage of hiring professionals is that they are always up-to-date about all the new kinds of installments and can support you with maintenance plans for the systems. If the company professional sets up your new unit, they will most likely offer you a maintenance schedule. The benefit is that since they installed the unit, they are familiar with its settings and can do a check-up whenever the house owner wants. Moreover, most setup packages come with a maintenance plan to ensure an HVAC system’s lifespan and security.

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