Residential Heating & Air Conditioning Systems

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are complex components in modern homes which regulate the internal atmosphere. As far as the setup of these systems goes, a do-it-yourselfer will be limited by federal and state laws. Multiple factors go into choosing an HVAC unit for your house, not the least of which are size, type and cost.

Heating

The kinds of residential heating systems range from boilers to furnaces to heat pumps, which use water, steam or air. Most central heating systems push air through a set of ducts installed during the initial construction of the house, together with the air coming from vents placed throughout the house. Some old systems rely on baseboard heaters that contain pipes run around the perimeter of a space; hot water is forced through the pipes to provide warmth. Conventional heaters operate on electricity or natural gas to heat the water, steam or air that’s being forced through the unit. In modern combo components, the same ports that push cool air in the summer are used to push warm air in the winter months.

Air-conditioning

Air conditioners include window-mounted and wall-mounted units which cool a single room. The more complex and expensive central air systems use the same duct work as the heat, and the air conditioner is installed alongside the chimney, typically in a basement. Liquid refrigerant cools the air inside the machine via the refrigeration cycle, which is then forced through the ducts or from the unit. When installed properly, the coolant in an air conditioner lasts a lifetime, regardless of how much use the device sees, as the coolant merely circulates from the machine as opposed to being used up.

Geothermal Vs. Conventional

Although the setup costs are considerably more than traditional technologies, geothermal units are shown to offer a 30 percent to 70 percent decline in heating costs and a 20 percent to 50 percent decline in cooling costs when compared with traditional systems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These components use the heat and heat from the ground as opposed to the air or using natural gas and power to switch the temperature within the unit. This is because the temperature just a few feet below the ground stays steady year-round, meaning the machine doesn’t need to work so hard to heat or cool a house. If budget isn’t a concern and you’re looking at a lifelong investment, geothermal is the best option.

Maintenance

Although homeowners cannot install any of these components of an HVAC system themselves, they can offer the routine maintenance required to maintain a system functioning in peak condition. All HVAC methods rely on air filters which need to be frequently cleaned for optimum working conditions. Evaporator coil cleaning foam and solutions are readily available in home improvement stores, allowing you to keep the heat coils of an ac system clean and functioning at peak efficiency. While you can perform the routine maintenance on your every six months or so, see to your HVAC system like a car. Each year you must schedule a visit by an HVAC professional to ensure the machine is working properly. This maintains your HVAC system operating for decades as opposed to just a few short decades.

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