What’s the difference between your HVAC system and your air conditioner? Trick question! While many people think they’re different because the words are used interchangeably, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. With Canada’s frigid winters and sweaty summers, we rely on the complete system to keep us comfortable.
Read on to learn more about an HVAC system and the different heating types for your home.
HVAC – The Basics
Your HVAC system comprises different parts that work together to perform the heating and cooling functions you need. These are some of the main components that keep the system running:
Thermostat: This is what will allow you to take control of the temperature in your home. The controls are connected to your system, allowing you to choose the desired temperature and kick your system into gear.
Refrigerant: Refrigerant absorbs heat in the summer to deliver cool air and reverses the process in the winter.
Evaporator coils: Your refrigerant flows through the coils to dissipate the heat it passes over indoors and leaves cool air circulating in the home.
Condenser: Your condenser sits outside to allow hot air to flow from outside to inside during the winter and reverse in the summer. Unlike the evaporator coils, the unit works to heat and cool the home.
Ductwork: For most systems, ducts are what help the air travel to the vents in order to release warm or cool air into your home. Your vents will be on the wall, ceiling, or floor.
Now that you understand the essential parts of most HVAC systems, what’s the best one for your home? Here’s what you should know about each system.
Types of HVAC Systems
Cooling & Heating Split Systems – Central
The most common type of HVAC system is the split system. This means your system is split into two different units but runs in harmony, controlled by your thermostat. A home may have a cooling and heating split system if you’ve noticed an air conditioning unit outside, whereas the heater may be in the basement or other storage space.
If you have existing ductwork, it’s typically a simple installation. The two units are connected with a copper tube where the blower will send warm air to the evaporator, the coils absorb that heat, and then your ducts do the rest of the work. Your AC unit, on the other hand, will make use of compressors, refrigerants, and coils to cool the air and blow the hot air outside.
Hybrid Split Systems
The hybrid split systems work similarly to the cooling and heating split systems. The bonus is that they save homeowners money because the system switches between electricity and gas. This allows you to save on your energy bills.
When you’re heating your home, it’ll use natural gas or oil, whereas the power will only kick on for the air conditioning. You don’t need any fancy preparation, as this relies on your ductwork and thermostat to work smoothly.
Ductless mini-splits are becoming increasingly popular as a means of home heating and cooling since they are so easy to set up. In addition, because there are no ducts, less energy is lost while heating your home. The ductless systems act as both a cooling and heating system.
This HVAC system is perfect for small homes. The outdoor and indoor components of a ductless mini-split system are fixed on the wall, however, the outside unit is typically placed on the ground. A small pipe then connects them. The indoor component functions like the evaporator in a conventional HVAC system. It transfers heat from the interior of the building to the outside compressor unit. This process is reversed in order to generate heat during the colder months.
Packaged HVAC Systems
This type of HVAC system is typically used in warmer climates because it’s not as powerful as other heating systems. A packaged HVAC system has all the components to cool and heat your home in one simple unit. They are typically installed in an attic, close to the foundation, or beside a wall.
They’re compact, efficient and easy to maintain, but they may not be a match for Calgary winters if you have a large home to heat.
Geothermal heating is not as popular because of the upfront cost, but they are highly eco-friendly as they don’t use fossil fuels. They work by exchanging warm and cool air through long underground pipes filled with cooling refrigerant. For heating, there are loops that are hooked to a heat pump that act as both the furnace and AC.
The size of your home, your heating and cooling needs, and your budget will help you decide which HVAC system is the best fit for your home. If you need more guidance, our friendly technicians at Plumbing and Heating Paramedics can make a personal recommendation based on your requirements. We’re happy to install your new system so you can enjoy your cozy space this winter. Contact us to book your spot today.
What type of HVAC system do you have? Are you going to try a new system when you’re ready for a switch? Share your ideas with our readers in the comments below.