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How Does An HVAC System Work?

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

Whether in your home or in a business location, your HVAC system provides constant air flow as well as cooling and heating at appropriate times during the year.

To accomplish this, an HVAC system uses a variety of moving parts that can easily break down over time.

There are 4 primary parts to your HVAC system.

The first is the thermostat which allows you to manually or programmatically keep your home at your selected temperature.

Modern, smart thermostats are even programmable from your mobile device and can be set to change temperatures at different times of day.

The second item inside your home is the furnace or heat pump.

The furnace or heat pump is typically found within the home, however some homes may have these systems located in a basement, attic, or crawl space.

While both the furnace and heat pump serve similar roles, a furnace is gas-powered and a heat pump is powered by electricity. Some systems are even solar-powered! Which one your home has depends on whether you have a gas or electric HVAC system.

Either way, both systems heat air in your home and distribute warm air through the ductwork in the home.

The third element that is installed in coordination with your furnace/heat pump within your home is the evaporator coil.

The evaporator coil cools air when you set your thermostat to a lower temperature during the spring and summer. This cooler air is then sent through your home via the ductwork.

Now, the last item within your home are the vents. These grates that you see throughout your home serve one of two purposes: some are intake vents bringing air from inside your home, through your home’s air filter, internal HVAC fan, and internal units (furnace/heat pump & evaporator coils) to heat/cool the air and exhaust vents expel air sending either heated or cooled air through your home.

The channels or piping that your HVAC system uses to distribute air to those vents is known as ductwork.

Typical Internal System Issues

Forgetting to change your air filter frequently is a common system issue.

If your air filter becomes clogged, it can prevent air from being pulled from inside your home, causing the evaporator coils to not receive enough air and cause your HVAC internal system to freeze.

Also, a dirty air filter can cause your HVAC system to have to work harder than necessary and cause your energy bill to skyrocket. ( Click the link to enter our giveaway!)

Not using the proper air filter, or NO FILTER at all is another common system issue.

Dirt and debris can clog your evaporator coils and heat pump, causing the system to break down rapidly. It is recommended to change your air filter monthly. One suggestion to remember to change your filter is when you pay your electric bill , change your air filter!

There are a number of other possible issues.

Blocked vents can prevent intake vents from being able to intake the correct amount of air OR prevent exhaust vents from pushing air into the home.

Ductwork isn’t properly sealed, you can leak warm or cool air into your home’s crawlspace or basement, causing higher energy costs. Or, over time, pests can infiltrate your ductwork, particularly in a crawlspace or attic, and cause further problems.

HVAC systems can break down from use – fan motors, small pin holes in evaporating coils that cause leakage from refrigerant, and a range of other problems can occur as your system ages. These are typical signs of wear and tear on an HVAC system and can be repaired or eventually replaced to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency.

Your Home’s External HVAC System

While the parts inside the home are critical, there is also your external HVAC unit.

The external HVAC unit typically contains two primary parts: the condensing unit and the refrigerant lines. Both of these parts are used primarily to cool the home.

The condensing unit is filled with refrigerant gas and is cooled thanks to the external fan which expels warm air from the unit. When the refrigerant becomes cooled, it is then pumped to the evaporator coil inside the home via the refrigerant lines to help cool the air inside the home. While this seems like a simple process, there are a number of things that can go wrong.

Typical External System Issues

The external HVAC unit sits outside the home where it is faced with the elements of nature. Hot summers, cold winters, animals, leaves, and other debris can surround an external HVAC system and due to this weathering, these systems break down over time.

Small holes can develop in the condenser coils leaking refrigerant, cooling fans can break down due to weathering over time, and other issues easily develop. Fortunately, these external systems are built to last for years with few issues – but issues do develop over time and maintenance and repairs are necessary.

Solutions for system Issues

Call your Trusted Professional at Peace Heating and Air and schedule a routine maintenance for your unit. Maintenance should be done twice a year to help prevent the system from failing when you need it the most. Call today and allow Peace Heating and Air to give you the freedom of knowing you can depend on your AC during this Texas Heat!



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