As the days grow shorter and the breeze intensifies, our thoughts turn
to cold, snowy nights and warm, steamy drinks. You’ll need more
than cider (regardless of how strong it is) to stay warm this season,
and American Mechanical, Inc. is here to help.
Each year, you rely on that big hunk of metal outside to keep your home
warm and cozy during the holidays; and each year it obliges. But have
you ever compared the energy cost or efficiency to previous years? Do
you know whether your heater is up to scratch, or barely keeping up?
To start, let’s get to know your ever-present, ever-silent houseguest,
your HVAC unit.
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. While each
brand, unit and model is different, there are a few standard features
that the majority of HVAC units will have in common.
If I Only Had a Brain.
The Thermostat is really the Brains of the HVAC operation. By regulating
the temperature of the rooms of your house or business, the thermostat
then triggers the system to begin producing hot or cold air, as needed.
If there’s an issue with your HVAC, the first area to troubleshoot
is the Thermostat settings.
I Bleed for You.
The Ducts act as the veins of HVAC, carrying necessary nutrients (or in
this case, temperature-regulated air) to vital parts of the body (house,
business). Just like veins in your body, ducts run through the interior
of the building, providing each and every room with the lifeblood of your
HVAC: the air.
The Ventilation shafts are like lungs, exhaling the heated or cooled air
through openings which are usually in the ceiling. Without these openings,
the processed air would build up within the system, and your home or business
would remain a frigid wasteland when winter comes calling.
Sweat it Out.
The Condensing Unit is a bit like skin, and a bit tough to describe. When
we sweat, the tiny beads of moisture that form on our skin eventually
evaporate, and the loss of energy cools our bodies. A condensing unit
functions in a similar method.
Located outside, the condensing unit utilizes refrigerant gas (energy),
which it cools by exchanging heat with the outside air. This air is then
compressed and condensed to liquid form (like sweat beading on skin),
and transported to the evaporation coil, at which point the substance
returns to a gaseous state (evaporation).
The Evaporator Coil could be called the stomach of the HVAC. Often attached
to the top or side of the furnace, the coil is triggered when the air
is too warm. Drawing upon a supply of chilled air, the evaporator coil
is able to prolong the comfort of the room.
Much like a deserted-island-castaway, whose stomach begins pulling on reserves
of fat from a more satiated past, the evaporator coil has a contingency plan.
Warm Me Up.
The Heat Exchanger is the nose & mouth of the HVAC. Just as you inhale
oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, the heat exchanger brings in cold air
and converts it.
When activated, the exchanger begins to suck cold air (either from outside
or a specialized vent within). This air is heated and dispersed through
the building via the ducts & vents.
The Way to My Heart…
Finally, we have the Furnace, or heart of the HVAC system. Typically residing
in a basement or attic (ribcage), the furnace is filled with hot water
or steam (blood) and it’s job is to push heated air from the heat
exchanger out to the ducts & vents.
Now that you’re both a bit better acquainted, you may feel it necessary
to have a pro take a look at your HVAC system and ensure that it’s
in fully functional shape for the coming winter.