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What Is HVAC? A Full Guide to Heating and Cooling

What Is HVAC? A Full Guide to Heating and Cooling

If your home has central heating and air conditioning, you have an HVAC system. But what is HVAC, what does it mean, and what does the system do for your home? Let’s explore what HVAC is and clarify any misconceptions you have about your HVAC system.

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What Does HVAC Stand For?

You’ve probably heard the term HVAC plenty of times but never knew what it actually meant—and you’re not alone. HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. This system is what keeps your home’s indoor temperature at a comfortable level regardless of the weather outside.

What Is the Function of an HVAC System?

The main function of your HVAC system is to help maintain indoor air quality and provide a comfortable indoor temperature. The HVAC systems keep your indoor air quality clean through ventilation and filtration. It keeps your home at a comfortable temperature by adequately distributing the conditioned air to each area of your home.

What Are the Different Types of HVAC Systems?

There are four categories of HVAC systems, each with its own size and specifications.

Heating And Cooling Split Systems

A heating and cooling split system is the most common type of HVAC system. As you may have guessed, this system is split in two, with one heating system and one cooling. The cooling system usually sits on the outside of a home, where it’ll use compressors, refrigerants, and coils to cool air.

The heating system can usually be found indoors, such as in the basement or storage area. This part of the system may use gas to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

Hybrid Split System

A hybrid split system works similarly to a heating and cooling split system. The main difference between them is that the hybrid heating system helps keep your energy bill lower. This system can switch between gas power, which heats your home faster and more completely, or eclectic, which is more efficient and quieter.

Duct Free System

Also known as a mini-split, this system is a great solution when other options are not possible. It’s also a great alternative to existing duct HVAC systems. This system can be directly installed in areas of your home where heating and cooling are needed.

With a ductless HVAC system, you can have four indoor air units for every outdoor unit. This allows you to control the temperature of individual areas separately.

Packed Heating and Air Conditioning System

A packed system refers to one that contains all parts needed to heat and cool air in a single unit. Typically you would find a unit like this on the roof or near the foundation. These systems are compact, efficient, and easy to maintain, making them a good choice for small homes.

Since this unit it’s as powerful as the others, we recommend using one in a warmer climate where its heating function would not need to work as hard.

HVAC Vs AC—What’s the Difference?

The main difference between an HVAC and an AC unit is that the HVAC system denotes an entire electrical system that controls heating and cooling, whereas central air conditioning only cools the air. When people are describing a problem with their home system, it’s easier to just say HVAC even if they only mean one part of the system. However, the more specific you can be when describing the problem, the easier it may be to determine a solution.

How Long Do HVAC Systems Last

Since an HVAC system consists of several components, it’s difficult to say how long it will last. Instead, let’s break down its main components’ life spans. Keep in mind that these numbers reflect systems that have had regular maintenance.

  • Gas furnaces—up to 30 years
  • Oil furnaces—up to 15 years
  • Boilers—up to 35 years
  • AC unit—up to 15 years
  • Heat pumps—up to 20 years

Call HARP for HVAC Repair, Maintenance, Installation, or Replacement

Before the seasons change, have your HVAC system inspected for any potential problems. Our technicians provide reliable and affordable HVAC system services to residents in Connecticut. Whether you need repair, maintenance, installation, or another HVAC service, call us at (860) 544-5996 or schedule an appointment online.