You expect warm or cool air from your HVAC system. But do you know all the components it consists of? Knowing what these are and where they’re located helps if you need to troubleshoot an issue or explain it to a technician. The main components of an HVAC system are as follows:
The thermostat is the control center for your HVAC system. It lets you manually set the mode and the temperature or create a schedule. Connected directly to the air conditioner and furnace, it also triggers an AC or heater to turn on and off or a blower to circulate air. Check the thermostat first if the system doesn’t start or turns on and off repeatedly.
Here, liquid refrigerant is converted to a gas and absorbs heat. Warm air is cooled as a fan blows it over the evaporator coil. Next, cooled air is pushed into the ductwork to be distributed to various rooms. Contact between the warm air and the cold coil causes condensation, which helps lower indoor humidity levels.
The outside component of your HVAC system is the condensing unit. A compressor in the unit increases the refrigerant’s temperature and pressure, which converts it back to a liquid and releases absorbed heat into the atmosphere. The refrigerant lines then transport the liquid to the evaporator coil to repeat the process.
These are narrow copper or aluminum tubes designed to resist heat and cold. However, they are prone to dirt buildup, which can affect heat transfer. The system will then work inefficiently, and the coils can become cold enough to freeze moisture on contact. The refrigerant lines travel between the evaporator and condenser and as a network of coils within each of these components.
Designed to produce heat, the furnace may be in the basement, attic, or a specialized closet or utility room. A furnace can use different fuel sources, including oil, coal, natural gas, or propane, depending on the model. An electric resistance furnace uses electricity to power heating elements. Other fuel options include solar energy and, in the case of a heat pump, ambient heat from the outside air or underground.
The heat exchanger sits inside the main housing of the furnace. Heat is generated within it when fuel starts burning. This heat is transferred to air that blows around the heat exchanger while combustion gases are contained inside it. Made of stainless steel, it’s resistant to damage but can develop cracks over time, which can cause a carbon monoxide leak.
A heat pump is an outdoor HVAC unit that can reverse its operation, depending on whether you need cool air or heat. Like a traditional air conditioner, it uses coils to circulate refrigerant while indoor air handlers deliver conditioned air into the house.
A network of channels delivers conditioned air to different parts of your home. Ducts are often made of aluminum but can also be steel, plastic, polyurethane, fiberglass, or fabric. A central HVAC system contains supply ducting that carries conditioned air to rooms and return ducting that pulls air back to the air conditioner or furnace. Dirty ducts, clogs, cracks, and holes can affect HVAC performance, efficiency, and indoor air quality, so ductwork inspections, cleaning, and sealing are important.
Air passes from the duct system into rooms via metal vents. These are made of a material that resists hot and cold temperatures. Located on or close to the ceiling, AC vents usually have movable slats that control airflow and the amount of cooling/heating a room receives.
Contact Air Stars to Learn More
Based in Keizer, OR, Air Stars provides heating and cooling services to customers in the Willamette Valley. We specialize in the installation, repair, and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps. Our licensed technicians also install ductless systems. If you need to schedule service or want to learn more about what the main components of an HVAC system are, call Air Stars at 503-832-4438 today.