All Florida residents rely on HVAC systems to keep their homes comfortable, but most people know very little about indoor climate control. Whether you’re trying to figure out why your house feels muggy or you’re considering replacing your furnace and air conditioner, it pays to learn how it all works. Here are the HVAC basics every homeowner should know.
What Is an HVAC System?
HVAC—or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning—is the system responsible for heating and cooling your home. HVAC systems also regulate the temperature and humidity in commercial buildings.
Parts of an HVAC System
Many individual components must work together flawlessly for an HVAC system to function as it should. Take a closer look at the basic parts of a typical forced-air home heating and cooling system.
Furnaces are the most common heating equipment in the United States. They consist of a burner, heat exchanger, and blower. The most common fuel sources are natural gas, propane, oil, and electricity. However, heat pumps are more common in Florida. They use electricity to provide energy-efficient heating in mild winter climates.
Air conditioning is critical for home comfort in Florida. Traditional central air conditioners are split systems, with a condensing unit outside and an evaporator coil inside. AC units use the furnace’s blower to transport cooled air around the building.
Heat pumps commonly take the place of air conditioners in southern climates. After all, they work as an efficient AC in the summer, with a reversing valve that also allows for wintertime heating. Homes with heat pumps instead of the traditional air conditioner/furnace combo need a separate air handler to circulate the air.
The purpose of ventilation is to move air around the house, vent exhaust fumes to the exterior, and swap stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. The equipment that accomplishes these tasks include ductwork, air registers, chimney flues, exhaust outlets, heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs).
Air Quality Products
In addition to controlling the temperature, HVAC systems also aim to improve indoor air quality. Cleaner indoor air promotes good health and can even reduce asthma and allergy symptoms. Indoor air quality products that work in tandem with furnaces and air conditioners include air filters, whole-house air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers.
No HVAC system can run without electricity, even if its primary fuel source is natural gas. After all, the equipment relies on a thermostat and control board to tell various components when and how to run.
How Does an HVAC System Work?
The answer to this question depends on what type of heating and cooling system you have.
How Does a Furnace Work?
A furnace heating cycle is comprised of these steps:
- The thermostat calls for heat, and the electronic ignition or pilot light ignites the fuel source, such as natural gas, within the burner.
- The blower turns on to begin pulling in air through the return vents.
- The flames heat up a metal heat exchanger, which transfers heat to the incoming air.
- The blower forces the heated air through the ductwork and distributes it through supply vents placed strategically throughout the house.
How Does an Air Conditioner Work?
Many people are surprised to learn that air conditioners don’t add cold air to a building—rather, they remove heat and humidity from it. Refrigerant is the key to making this happen. Here’s how it works:
- Inside the house, warm indoor air blows across an evaporator coil full of chilled refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs the heat, leaving cooled air to distribute through the ductwork.
- Meanwhile, the condensing unit outside the house releases heat from the refrigerant. Metal fins and a large fan make this process more efficient. This allows the now-cooled refrigerant to flow back into the house and absorb more heat.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
In the summer, a heat pump works identically to an air conditioner. Thanks to a reversing valve, the process also works in reverse, heating your home in the winter by absorbing heat from outdoor air and exhausting it inside. When the temperature drops below freezing, which is rare in Florida, backup electric resistance coils provide supplementary heat.
Schedule HVAC Services
Clearly, a functioning HVAC system is crucial to keep your Florida home comfortable every season. If your heating or cooling equipment is acting up, reach out to Certified Climate Control for the services you need. We install, maintain, repair, and replace HVAC systems of all kinds, with an A+ BBB rating for your peace of mind. As a preferred dealer for Daikin, Bryant, and other leading HVAC brands, you can trust us to meet your needs! Give us a call today to schedule HVAC services in Orange, Seminole, or Volusia County, FL.