Most modern homes and retail establishments have heating and air conditioning systems. Nevertheless, many people take these things for granted. They do not understand how important their air conditioner is or how it works.
If you’re interested in learning more about air conditioning systems or you want to enter this career field, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, you’re going to learn a great deal more about HVAC and the associated career field.
What Does HVAC Stand For?
Before going too far, it is important to learn more about the basics of HVAC. What does it stand for? HVAC is an abbreviation used for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Your home has an HVAC system but you’re likely more familiar with the air conditioner.
Underneath your home, you’re going to find a complex system of ductwork and that is used to transport cold or hot air throughout your home.
The thermostat you use to change your home’s temperature is a small component in a much bigger system. That system is referred to as your home’s HVAC system.
What Is An HVAC System?
Again, your home likely has an HVAC system. Unless you’re relying on box fans, you are using an HVAC unit and system to cool or warm your home. Simultaneously, you should know that stores, restaurants, hospitals, and manufacturing facilities have HVAC systems. This term is used to describe all aspects of your home’s heating and cooling system. This includes your heat pump, thermostat, ductwork, and other components.
While there are various types of systems, they’re designed to serve the same purposes.
How Do HVAC Systems Work?
For the consumer, the HVAC system is straightforward. You adjust the settings on the thermostat to change the temperature or turn the unit on and off. However, these systems are far more complicated than you could ever imagine.
In commercial buildings, the system may add heat and moisture to the building. In your home, it will filter and recirculate the air to remove dust, odor, and other particulates.
To better understand how the system works, you need to learn more about each component. You’ll be able to do that below.
- The Thermostat
You likely use your home’s thermostat daily. This device is mounted on your wall and you use it to change the temperature in your home. While you can adjust the settings manually, you can let a smart thermostat handle this for you.
Once the home reaches the desired temperature, the thermostat will notify the HVAC system causing it to shut off. Modern thermostats are designed to save the user money while maintaining optimum temperature levels.
The furnace is one of the most important components of all. In most cases, it will be the biggest component of the system and will consume the most space. The furnace is responsible for heating air which will then be sent throughout the home using a series of ducts or pipes. Furnaces can be powered using various systems including electric resistance, combustion, or solar energy.
- The Evaporator Coil
If you’re trying to cool your home, you’ll use the evaporator coil. This component is used when you’ve decreased the temperature on the thermostat. The coil will lower the air’s temperature before that air is transported into your home.
- Condensing Unit
The condensing unit will be found outside of your home. It uses refrigerant gas. The condensing unit will transport the liquid to the evaporator coil so it can be converted into gas once again.
- Ducts And Vents
The ducts and vents work together to transport the air to your home. Depending on the layout of your HVAC system, you may have ducts under your floors or in your attic. The vents will connect the ducts to your home and allow the air to flow through freely.
It is important to keep your ducts and vents clean. Otherwise, your HVAC unit will blow dust and other debris into your home and that may lead to respiratory problems.
Different HVAC System Types
While HVAC systems are designed to warm and cool the building in question, there are many types and they’re different in various ways. Many homes use a split system since this tends to be the most common. With a split system, you’re going to have two major components with one being inside and the other outside of the home.
The air conditioner outside of your home will cool the refrigerant. You’ll also have a furnace and fan or coil inside of your home. The ductwork in your home will transport the air from room to room. Many newer systems offer energy-efficient components as well as air cleaners and humidifiers.
- Duct-Free Split System
Alternatively, you will find that some split systems do not have ductwork. These systems tend to be best when retrofitting a home without ducts. They make great substitutes when you cannot outfit a room with ductwork.
- Zoned Systems
Zoned systems are very beneficial since they allow the user to control the temperature in specific areas. For instance, you will be able to use valves or dampers to make one room cooler than the others. While these systems tend to be more expensive than the others, they’ll save you money in the long run.
After all, you will be able to limit the cool air sent to rooms that you’re not inhabiting at the time. This ensures that energy is not wasted when it is not needed.
- Humidity Control
Humidity can be a big problem in many areas. This is why many advanced HVAC systems feature humidity control components. It is possible to add a dehumidifier or humidifier to your system. This ensures that you’re able to control the humidity when the HVAC is operating.
Humidity isn’t a problem in some locations. If it is a big problem in your region, you may find that a humidity control HVAC system is best for your home. Speak with a professional to find out what is going to work best for you and your family.
What Size HVAC Is Needed?
Many consumers suspect that bigger is always better but this isn’t always the case. If you’re using an over-sized system, you may run into problems and end up spending more than you should. It is best to choose a system that perfectly accommodates the size of your home.
You need to purchase a unit that matches the square footage of your home. If the unit is too big, you may experience condensation issues and that could lead to mold and rot. Working with a reliable contractor is one of the best ways to eliminate this problem and get the best results.
What To Look For When Hiring An HVAC Contractor
Working on an HVAC system can be very difficult and complex so you likely won’t be able to solve the problem on your own. With that being said, you’ll need to hire a reliable contractor in your area. That can be problematic in itself since you need to choose someone who is right for the job.
What do you need to look for when hiring an HVAC contractor? First and foremost, you should look at the contractor’s license and experience. Do they have the credentials to back up their claims? How long have they been in business? Once you’ve found a few candidates, you’ll want to ask for a home evaluation. Many contractors will offer this service for free.
Once they’ve finished, they’ll be able to help you determine what type of size of the HVAC system is going to work best for your home. However, you shouldn’t hire this company yet. Before doing so, you’ll want to ask them for references and referrals.
Make sure that previous customers were satisfied with the contractor’s services. Finally, you should speak to this individual about rebates and special offers. You may be able to take advantage of certain rebates by choosing efficient equipment.
Maintaining Your HVAC System
As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your HVAC system. You won’t be able to handle everything but you can do a lot. For instance, you should be able to replace your system’s filters. They’ll likely be found inside of your home or garage.
Depending on the filters used, you will likely need to replace them or clean them. Either way, it is pertinent to replace or clean the filters every 1 to 6 months depending on their condition. While you’re at it, you should take the time to inspect the system’s components.
Pay close attention to the fan, belts, and bearings. You’ll also want to spend time looking for leaks. If you notice any problems, you’ll want to speak with a professional HVAC contractor in your area. Finally, you should learn more about duct cleaning. If your duct system is filled with dirt, dust, and debris, you’re going to have a lot of problems on your hands. You’ll want to clean your ducts every two years or so.
This will keep the air clean and help ensure that your home’s air quality is optimal.
Average Lifespan Of HVAC System
At some point, you’ll likely need to replace components of your HVAC system. Just remember that some components are going to last longer than others. For instance, your furnace will have a shelf life of 20 to 30 years but your air conditioner may only last 15 years.
If you’re unable to fix the problem, you’ll need to replace the equipment. If you use faulty equipment, there is a good chance that problems are going to occur elsewhere.
With that being said, you should fix these problems immediately. If your heat pump is no longer functional, it is time to hire a professional so they can replace it and help you avoid other issues.
What Does The R Stand For In HVAC-R?
Over the years, the acronym HVAC is being phased out by professionals in the industry. The applications utilized in the industry include commercial, industrial, and residential. When students attend training courses to advance their HVAC careers, they are required to become familiar with not only heating and air conditioning equipment but also refrigeration equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers, and coolers.
The acronym “R” refers to refrigeration. Most HVAC technicians are familiar with residential, industrial, and commercial refrigeration applications. These technicians are known as HVAC-R specialists just for that very reason. Commercial refrigeration systems are more complex than residential units, so they require special skills and training to install and repair.
Today, most HVAC courses include refrigeration training. If you want to expand your career even further, you will need this training. HVAC companies that offer refrigeration services are always on the lookout for graduates with this type of training. It is possible to get a better paying job if you are familiar with commercial and residential refrigeration systems.
Electricity – What Role It Plays In HVAC?
HVAC and refrigeration units would be useless without electricity. This energy source is utilized to power these units, regardless of whether the setting is commercial, industrial, or residential. Each type of HVAC and refrigeration unit utilizes a specific amount of electricity.
For example, small window air conditioners utilize about 500 watts of electricity to operate efficiently. Larger units can use up to 3500 watts of electricity. While this information may not seem important to the average homeowner, it is crucial to an HVAC-R technician.
HVAC-R students are required to become familiar with the basics of electricity for both air conditioning and refrigeration units. Each student will learn the role electricity plays in the HVAC industry. They will also learn about both simple series electrical wiring diagrams and parallel circuits.
Without the ability to generate electricity from solar power or nuclear reactors, HVAC would be non-existent. So, you see, electricity plays a major role in the HVAC industry.
While electricity plays a major role in the HVAC industry, HVAC and refrigeration play a major role in modern society. Highly developed countries, like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, rely on HVAC to cool and heat residential, commercial, and industrial facilities. Refrigeration is also crucial in these countries, as it is utilized to store perishable foods and beverages.