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The term HVAC stands for heating, ventilating and air conditioning. An HVAC system includes everything you use for thermal control or regulation at home (such as an air-conditioner), or in an industry or an apartment building. The idea behind using an HVAC system, is to ensure indoor comfort. The system is based on the principles of thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid mechanics.
What is the need for HVAC systems?
Not just your homes, HVAC systems are used in skyscrapers, apartment complexes, industrial buildings, hospitals, labs and even very large interior environments. From the smallest of your personal devices to some of the biggest industrial equipment, these systems are everywhere, which is why you need to know the different types of HVAC systems.
HVAC systems for heating
Some common examples include the following:
- Furnaces that burn materials to provide heat (natural gas or propane).
- Boilers that heat water for steam radiators (gas or oil).
- Radiant floors or hydronic heating system (uses piping under the floor and can be fitted into wooden flooring).
HVAC systems for cooling
The most popular example of an HVAC system used for cooling, is an air-conditioner or an AC. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from portable ones to ones that can be mounted on a window to large ones that can cool the entire house. Similarly, there are many that can be installed by the owners while there are many that require expertise, to install. Evaporative air coolers are a popular choice too and are used in regions with dry climates.
Whether you choose a HVAC system for heating or cooling, it will consume some amount of energy. Therefore, it is important that you go with an HVAC system that is energy efficient. This will ensure that your energy bills do not reach unreasonable levels. There are different types of HVAC systems that can control humidity levels – you would have heard of humidifiers and dehumidifiers, too.
How do HVAC systems work?
The automation device decides whether to heat or cool the space and at what temperature. When air from the outside is pushed through these coils, as need be, it is either heated or cooled, before being let loose in the living space. From the rear of the system, the air will be displaced and put back into the system. The diagram below shows how the system collects heat from a space and soaks it and then pushes it into the air.
Source: 21 Celsius
Different parts of the HVAC system
The HVAC system consists of the expansion valve, the evaporator, compressor, condenser and the receiver drier. Depending on whether the HVAC system is for heating or cooling, these could be used as heat pumps, rooftop units, water source heat pumps, packaged HVAC such as ACs, split-system HVACs, ductless systems, etc.
What is the HVAC system for the house?
Your air conditioner, split systems, heaters, heat pumps, etc., are all types of HVAC systems, meant to add comfort to your living space.
What are ductless systems?
Ductless systems can heat or cool a single room in your house without the hassle of adding ductwork.
What is HSPF?
An HSPF of 8 or more is considered high efficiency. It is a ratio for the heating efficiency of heat pumps.