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The basics of heating & cooling

This simplified illustration provides you with a brief overview of the elements of an efficient heating and cooling system, and helps you gain an understanding of how your HVAC system works.
There are three major components in any HVAC system. These are the ventilator, the furnace, and the air conditioner. There are also other components that aid in comprising the system in its entirety. These components are heat pumps, humidifiers, air cleaners, ultraviolet germicidal lamps, fan coils, evaporator coils, thermostats, and zoning controls.

The numbers in the article refer to the photo above.

HVAC can be thought of as climate control. The primary functions of a (2) furnace (heating) and an (3) air-conditioner (cooling) are obvious. Understanding the complete HVAC system is not as well known, however.  

Ventilation is a key component of an efficient HVAC system. A (8) heat recovery ventilator recovers heat from indoor air and transfers it to incoming outdoor air without sacrificing energy efficiency, and is a necessity for maintaining (5) clean indoor air in homes and offices.

(6) Humidifiers maintain the moisture balance of indoor air, and are critical in dry climates.

(4) Evaporator coils or Indoor Coils allow the refrigerant to absorb heat from the air as it passes over the coil surface.

A fan coil is the indoor blower and evaporator section of the heat pump or air conditioning system.

Air cleaners remove harmful pollutants from indoor air.

(7) Ultraviolet germicidal lights inhibit the growth of contaminants on the evaporator coils and therefore provide higher indoor air quality.

(1) Thermostats regulate the temperature in your home. It is important to have your thermostats updated in order to get the most efficiency from your system.

Zoning is another way to gain efficiency in your home. With a zoning system, you can vary the temperatures in up to eight different locations.

A heat pump - vapor-compression refrigeration - moves heat from one location to another. Heat pumps contain reversing valves and optimized heat exchangers, so that the direction of heat flow can be reversed. Heat pumps allow energy to move from a cold source to a hot source or a hot source to a cold source. They help to maintain a constant and consistent temperature throughout the home or office and thus create optimum whole-house energy-efficiency.

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