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.