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HVAC 101

If you’ve heard the term “HVAC” but don’t know much about heating equipment, here’s the chance to get introduced to your home’s three most important systems—heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC). They are the keys to your interior climate, its air temperature, humidity and air quality.

Let’s start our tutorial with a few words about how the central heating system operates. The furnace generates heat through the combustion of gas or other fuel. Air arriving in the return duct passes over a hot surface—a heat exchanger—and enters a blower. Its fan drives the warmed air up the ductwork into the dwelling’s rooms. The benefits of central heating are heat when you want it, bang for your energy buck and cleaner air, thanks to filters.

Another way to heat your Clarksville home is a heat pump. It uses electricity as the source of energy through heat transfer between two reservoirs. When the weather is hot and sticky, the pump behaves as an air conditioning unit by venting interior warm air. In winter it takes heat from exterior air and transfers it inside. Surprisingly, even with temperatures in the 30s here in Tennessee, there is enough exterior heat to warm your home.

This type of heating equipment is ideal for climates without extremes because a single unit both heats and cools. Your home’s air is cleaner too, thanks to one or more furnace air filters that comb out dust particles. With the heat pump compressor located outdoors, your indoor climate is controlled soundlessly. You’ll never hear the rumbles associated with central heating furnaces.

A central air conditioner is a split system made up of a compressor situated outside and a coil atop the furnace, usually located on a lower level room or basement. Electricity drives the compressor to pump refrigerant liquid along the system. As it passes, it absorbs interior heat and moisture for outdoor venting by means of passing it over a cold coil. That heat in the coil is pumped outside and cooled air returned at a comfortable heat and humidity level. The air conditioner has the further advantage of cleansing the air of dust and pollen by means of filters attached to the unit. Upscale filters allow your home’s air to be free of even microscopic particles.

Understanding how your Clarksville home’s heating equipment operates is one thing, but actually maintaining and repairing it is another matter. When you need a professional to handle problems, contact a good one.