Do you know the most common types of residential HVAC systems? Do you know what type of system you have? Would you know where to locate the major components?
Most of us give ZERO thought to our heating and air conditioning system until it stops working. A little basic HVAC knowledge can bring an abundance of confidence and security when making choices about one of the most essential and valuable elements of your home.
Split systems are the most typical and traditional residential heating and cooling applications. Equipment is located inside and outside of the home.
GAS SPLIT SYSTEM
This application includes a gas furnace and evaporator coil inside (attic, crawl, basement, or mechanical closet) and the air conditioner outside.
In heating mode, the furnace produces heat through the combustion of natural gases in the furnace's burner. The heat produced passes through the heat exchanger where it warms the air coming from the home's return air duct. The blower then blows the warmed air into the supply ductwork where it is dispersed throughout the home.
In cooling mode, the blower on the furnace pulls hot air from inside the house through the return air ducts. The warm indoor air is cooled as it passes over the evaporator coil. The cool air is then dispersed into different areas of the home through the supply ducts. During this process, the system's refrigerant (Freon or Puron) turns into a vapor at the evaporator coil. That gas passes through copper tubing to the air conditioner outside where it is converted back to a liquid, removing any heat.
HEAT PUMP SPLIT SYSTEM
This split system application includes an air handler (fan coil) and strip heat inside (attic, crawl, basement, or mechanical closet) and the heat pump outside. Unlike an air conditioner, the heat pump is used year-round as it has the ability to both heat and cool.
When your system is set to heat, heat pump extracts the heat that is present in the outdoor air in winter and delivers it inside the home. The air handler is used to circulate the air throughout the home. The strip heat (also called emergency or auxiliary heat) is a backup feature that kicks in when the heat pump cannot keep up.
In cooling mode, the process reverses. The heat pump pulls the heat out of the indoor air and releases it outside to keep the home cool and dry. The air handler is used to circulate the air throughout the ductwork.
Hybrid heat systems, also called dual-fuel, are a smarter, more energy-efficient variation of a split system. It combines a gas furnace with an outdoor heat pump, rather than an air conditioner. This system works like a traditional heat pump system, where the heat pump is used as the primary source for heating and cooling the home. The difference is, when the heat pump cannot keep up in heating mode, it switches to gas when it is the most economical way to heat the home.
In a packaged system, all of the heating and cooling components are contained within a single unit. These units are installed outside of your home. It is connected to your home's ductwork through a hole on the outside wall. The primary advantages are the space it saves inside your home and accessibility. Like split systems, packaged heating and cooling systems can be gas, heat pump, or hybrid (dual-fuel).
Ductless (or mini-split) systems have no - you guessed it - ductwork. These systems includes one outdoor unit and one or more indoor units, connected by refrigerant tubing. The indoor unit is wall-mounted and satisfies the temperature settings in that particular area of the home. Ductless systems are ideal to better control the comfort level in a particular area of the home. They may also be installed in a new addition to your home where installation of traditional ductwork is impossible or too expensive.
Still have questions about the components or operation of your heating and cooling system? Need maintenance or a repair on your existing equipment? The caring professionals at Helms Heating & Air Conditioning are here when you need us! Contact us by phone or live chat.