HVAC 101:  Understanding Home Heating and Cooling Systems

The moment our home’s HVAC equipment starts to show signs of trouble, we panic. It happens at the worst possible time and when we least expect it. Maybe the heat quits working while you are out of town and come home to a huge mess from pipes that burst. Or, the air conditioner dies during a heat wave making it unbearable inside. Understanding how HVAC equipment works will help keep you safe from extreme weather. When the time inevitably comes for a replacement, you will be prepared to select the best HVAC equipment for your home.

What Does HVAC Mean?
The term HVAC is an acronym that stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and keeps temperature, humidity, and air quality regulated in your home. HVAC equipment differs depending on where you live. For most of the country, a central air conditioner and furnace combination is the most common; however, in warmer climates like South Carolina, heat pumps with air handlers and packaged units are more prevalent.

How Do Central Forced-Air Systems Work?
A forced-air system is a series of ducts running throughout the home with equipment installed in a central location within the house that forces the air throughout the whole space.

Types of Central HVAC Equipment
Basic components that make up home heating and cooling systems differ throughout the country:

  • Gas Furnace
  • Heat Pump
  • Packaged Unit (an all-in-one a/c and furnace unit)
  • Air Conditioner
  • Air Handler

The supply air ducts run from the blower (inside centrally located furnace or air handler) and terminate at individual registers throughout the home. The return ducts balance the system out with strategically placed vents that feed back into the furnace or air handler where the unconditioned air is re-conditioned and circulated again. This type of system is very efficient because it allows for a rapid exchange rate of air that conditions and cleans the air in your home.

If you are in the market for a new HVAC unit, just give us a call at 803.772.7715; estimates are always complimentary, and we offer 100% financing with approved credit!