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Christine Johnson

What Is HVAC?

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) is a system used to make indoor spaces more comfortable inside. You’ll find them in homes, offices, commercial spaces, and most vehicles. In addition to making things more comfortable, they’re crucial for proper air circulation and air quality. HVAC systems help to make your home warm and cozy by using the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.

These are the three core functions of HVAC systems:

1) Heating -  HVAC systems may contain boilers, furnace, or heat pumps to heat the air in a central location in the home or commercial setup.

2) Ventilation - Excess humidity, odors, and contaminants can often be controlled by ventilating the air inside with air outdoors.

3) Air conditioning - To cool the air, a compressor is used to drive the thermodynamic refrigeration cycle. For drier climates, evaporative coolers are a popular choice.

How do HVAC systems work?

The cooling process begins when the refrigerant is pumped through the system by the compressor. Heat from the air in your home transfers to the refrigerant as the refrigerant passes through the evaporator coil. This transfer cools the coil and air then travels through a duct network, and into your home. By reversing the flow of refrigerant, the heat pump refrigeration cycle is changed from cooling to heating or vice versa.

A condensation unit is set up outside your house and is filled with the refrigerant gas. When the refrigerant is cooled, the condensing unit pumps this liquid to the evaporator coil (through refrigerant lines) to be transformed into gas again.

How do HVAC Systems Improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?

There are three primary ways HVAC systems improve IAQ. These include:

  • Increased Ventilation: HVAC systems are designed to distribute fresh air throughout the building by bringing in the outdoor air.
  • Humidity Reduction - Air conditioning units in HVAC systems reduce humidity by using the heat generated during the refrigeration cycle. Humidity levels are reduced by directing the excess heat inside (instead of outdoors).  
  • IAQ Regulation - Air conditioning helps improve air quality by regulating the air around the building. This helps in removing stale and stagnant air from the building and replacing it with fresh air through the HVAC system.