HVAC Systems: Essential Basics to Know Before You Buy

HVAC Systems: Essential Basics to Know Before You Buy

June 24, 2024


The average HVAC system costs $5,000 to $12,000. Because of the high cost, you can’t simply buy a new system if you realize your current one is too small, costly to operate, or noisy. Before you invest in a new furnace or AC, talk to an HVAC technician, read consumer reports, and get feedback from your friends about the best HVAC systems available.  

You need to carefully consider the type of HVAC system you need, the HVAC components involved, and which factors matter the most to you. To avoid replacing your system in the future, you should also learn some of the best preventative care for HVAC equipment. 

What is an HVAC System?

What is HVAC? And why should you invest in a high-quality HVAC system? 

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. These types of systems are installed in offices, homes, and businesses to provide climate control. In addition to regulating the temperature, HVAC systems can also filter the air and manage humidity levels. By getting high-quality HVAC units, you can enjoy having a better energy-efficiency level and a more comfortable home. 

HVAC Systems: Essential Basics to Know Before You Buy

Components of a Residential HVAC System

In a residential HVAC system, you’ll normally find specific components, such as a heat pump, air conditioner, thermostat, furnace, and ductwork. The following list includes the most common components in HVAC units. 

  • Furnace: A furnace heats your home. Once the furnace warms the air, it is distributed through ducts or vents.
  • Air Conditioner: An air conditioner cools your home. Like a furnace, an air conditioner can use ducts or vents with fans to distribute cold air. 
  • Heat Pump: A heat pump can heat and cool your home. Like furnaces and air conditioners, heat pumps can be designed to work with or without ducts. 
  • Ductwork: Ducts are passages that connect your HVAC system to each room of your home. They’re typically designed to be hidden inside your ceiling. Your ductwork is in charge of adding and removing air from each room.
  • Thermostat: The thermostat measures the room temperature. When the temperature reaches your preset level, the thermostat triggers the rest of your HVAC system to kick on.   
  • Evaporator Coils: These coils receive refrigerant liquid in a low-pressure, low-temperature state and work with the condenser coil to remove heat from your home.
  • Compressor: The compressor moves refrigerant between your evaporator coils and condenser coils. It is one of the most important components in your HVAC system.
  • Condenser: A condenser is responsible for cooling down the refrigerant so that it turns back into a liquid. It can perform this action by transferring heat to the air outside your home. 
  • Air Handler: Your air handler’s primary role is to circulate air in your home. It includes a heating element, blower, and filter.
  • Heat Exchanger: A heat exchanger can transfer heat between liquids and gasses.
  • Air Purifier: With an air purifier, you can clean your indoor air so that your family breathes fewer contaminants, like dust, mold, wildfire smoke, and pet dander. 
HVAC Systems: Essential Basics to Know Before You Buy

Different Types of HVAC Units

Other than learning about the HVAC meaning and components, it’s important to research different types of HVAC units. Typically, you’ll be shopping for ductless mini-splits, split systems, and packaged systems. 

  • Ductless Mini-Splits: These ACs are incredibly popular because they don’t require ductwork. Each room heats and cools independently, making it ideal for a residential HVAC system.
  • Packaged Systems: A packaged system is an all-in-one heating and cooling solution that is known for being energy-efficient and good for homes that don’t have crawl spaces for ducts. 
  • Split Systems: This is the most common HVAC option. It has one system for heating and one system for cooling that are normally located in different parts of the home.
  • Hybrid Split Systems: A hybrid split system is one of the most technologically advanced options. It works like a split system. Designed to use ducts, this system lets you switch between using gas and electricity. 
  • Heat Pumps: Heat pumps can heat and cool your home. Because heat pumps are made to transfer heat, they can move heat from the outside of your home to the inside during the winter. In summer, heat pumps transfer heat from inside to outside.  
HVAC Systems: Essential Basics to Know Before You Buy

Key Factors to Consider When Buying an HVAC System

When purchasing an HVAC system, it’s important to choose the right unit size for optimal performance and efficiency. You should also consider the following factors. 

  • Energy usage 
  • Your local climate 
  • Ductwork requirements
  • The system size 
  • Warranties
  • Your budget
  • Maintenance needs
  • SEER rating 
  • Durability and longevity

The Role of a Professional Air Conditioning Contractor

With the help of an air conditioning contractor, you can pick the right HVAC system for your home. They can tell you about the maintenance and repair needs of each system. It’s important to always use a professional HVAC contractor because they can ensure your system is correctly maintained and installed. 

HVAC Systems: Essential Basics to Know Before You Buy

Maintenance Tips for Longevity

To maintain a residential HVAC system, schedule routine maintenance at least twice a year. An HVAC technician can inspect, clean, and maintain your system for optimal performance. 

After reading the manufacturer’s specifications, you should clean and change the filter regularly. You should also make sure the area around your HVAC system remains clean and free from debris.  

Choose the Right HVAC System

With the help of a skilled air conditioning contractor, you can get advice about the right HVAC system. Often, these systems can be installed in less than a week. Afterward, you can expect your HVAC system to last for more than a decade as long as it is properly maintained.  

Image Credit: depositphotos.com

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