How HVAC systems work: The basics

How HVAC systems work: The basics

HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. This is the general term used by HVAC professionals to refer to the collection of industrial, residential or commercial systems that either cool or heat a space. No matter where these systems are installed, they all serve the same basic function: To provide climate control to a space. However, not all HVAC systems are created equal. There are actually many different types of HVAC systems out there, making it easy to find one to meet whatever your needs may be.

Before you make your choices, however, there are certain things to look for. Otherwise, you could end up either spending too much money on a system that is too powerful for your needs or purchasing one that is not powerful enough to heat and/or cool your space.

Basically, there are three general categories of HVAC systems. First, there is the gravity system. These systems work through thermodynamics, which forces hot air to rise and heat rooms that are located higher than the furnace. Radiant heating units work by utilizing hot water (in the form of steam) which radiates heat throughout the room through electrical elements located either in the walls or under the flooring in a room. Finally, forced hot air systems are equipped with an electrical fan that blows hot or cold air through a series of ducts and out through the vents in all of the rooms in space.

One of the biggest considerations when buying an HVAC system is the amount of space you will have to heat and/or cool. Make sure you accurately record not only the area of your room, but also the volume. In other words, you need to understand the floor area (the length of each wall, added together) but also the volume of the room, from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling. This is important information to have so that you can be sure you will select the right system to heat/cool the space you have.

Another good strategy is to ask your neighbours about the kind of HVAC system they have.   Unless you live in an older home (built when subdivisions didn’t necessarily follow a particular floor plan) it’s quite likely that your home will be very similar in configuration to your neighbour’s. If the system works well for your neighbour’s home, it will probably meet your needs, too.

Note: Your utility company may offer various kinds of bonuses or incentives if you choose one particular kind of system. Always call and inquire. It never hurts to ask!

One last thing to consider: Always ensure you are getting your HVAC system from a licensed vendor. Find one that offers not only installation, but also air conditioning repair NYC residents. In doing so, you can be assured that, in the event of the need for a repair down the road, your vendor will be familiar with the unit you have and will be able to repair it expertly.

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