An Intro to HVAC – Heating and Cooling

The perspective of this webpage deals with HVAC central split air systems with an air handler indoors and a condensing unit out of doors connected to a distribution  system of air ducts for supply and for return air. Here is an orientation around this type of HVAC system  

This page is intended as a foundational resource for you to clarify your understanding of your heating and cooling system and a resource to help you make sure your HVAC system is operating effectively.

Your HVAC is an interactive part of your home comfort system. Your comfort depends on the correct operation of all these systems.

Always remember the HVAC is just a part of the wide array of systems in your home that keep you comfortable and keep your indoor air healthy. Your home is a system; all parts are critical to the overall impact on you. All parts are interrelated and impact the performance of each other.  We discuss the  home as a total system here.

Proper maintenance is a huge issue with HVAC systems.

Pumps and motors operating at a wide range of temperatures  and wide range of moisture issues, makes proper maintenance essential for top performance and proper long life of components. Just how much maintenance does your system need, how often, and who is doing the tending of the schedule for maintenance. Do you want to be responsible or do you want your chosen HVAC service provider to help with scheduling? We deal with these key HVAC maintenance questions here.

Do you have a gas furnace in your air handler? Is the air handler in the living space?

Any combustion device in your home creates carbon monoxide. If you have a furnace, your furnace is producing CO.  Furnaces get extremely hot; they are combustions chambers, of course, and so they deal with heating and expansion, and cooling and contraction, and a great deal of moisture in this heating and cooling cycle. Manufacturers build really good products these days. They eliminate stress in the furnace combustion chamber as much as possible- but problems can occur, cracks can happen and CO carbon monoxide can be sucked out of the combustion chamber and right into the air plenum and right out the supply ducts. This is just the iaspect of mechanical failure creating exposure to carbon monoxide. There are many other ways to have issues with combustion gases. Make sure you see our page on combustion issues if you have a combustion device in your home. Gas ranges, gas powered cloth dryers, fireplaces … all must be assessed for possible issues..

When have you last paid attention to the air filtration system in your heating and cooling system?

HVAC Systems need regular attention to the filtration system. When is the last time you checked your filters. What type  and size of filter does your system use? Time flies. We are busy. Important things get forgot. Things that impact the health of your family.

So you know and you have a plan. How about your parents. If you are a member of the sandwich generation, you also have parents to watch out for and worry about. There are ways to systemize these types of issues. Modern technology can remind us when important stuff needs to be done. We delve into Filtration issues. here.

When does it make sense to upgrade the system? When do you need to invest in a new system?

Every HVAC service company wants to talk to you when this issue comes up. But you need to think about it long before the repair bills start jumping up. Most people make decisions like this under stress when the unit breaks and you are lacking cold air in summer of warm air in the winter.

A heating and cooling crisis is not the right t the right time to be thinking about these kinds of decisions. The issues are much wider that just picking out the new equipment. This important issues need to be addressed with careful thought. How much careful thought can you do when the air is off and you are trying to sleep and the temp outside is way too close to way too hot.

There are critical issues to understand and around which to make decisions. There is no better time than the present to start the process of understanding what makes sense and valuate where you stand now. It will pay off to be ready when the next crisis comes. Maybe you can head off the crisis.  Or at least you can be best prepared with whatever happens and maintain your cool while having to make decisions under stress.  We break this conversation up into two critical issues. When is the  right time to be planning for your next upgrade? and What is the smart path to figuring out your next HVAC upgrade? 

Any suggestions for a more helpful page? Is there a question  that needs addressing? Do you have an  experience to share?  Please add a comment below.

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