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The Basics About HVAC

The Basics About HVAC

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November 7, 2006

The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems of your home determine the comfort, durability and energy efficiency of your entire home. Each portion of the HVAC system can be costly to install and to use. That's why it is so important to make sure every aspect of your HVAC systems are installed properly and maintained regularly.

Depending on your geographical location the heating portion of your HVAC system can be the most costly to operate. You can do some number crunching between gas, oil or electric furnaces to see which provides the most effective heat source for your area. Some people opt for a heat pump. Heat pumps are most effective in regions with approximately the same heating and cooling demands.

The ventilation portion of HVAC systems is crucial to the durability and stability of your home. Most homes are designed to handle outdoor moisture. The primary purpose of ventilation inside your home is to remove moisture


The moisture in your home comes from cooking, washing clothes, watering plants, taking showers and baths and humidifying the air during the winter. Moisture can be trapped in a home that is too well sealed. It is good for houses to be able to "breathe". Houses need to breathe out cool air from an air conditioner in summer and some warm heated air in the winter. While it costs you money on heating and air conditioning bills, good ventilation will take away some of the seven to ten gallons of potentially harmful moisture that's produced daily inside your home.

In the attic, ventilation allows for proper heat dispersion. For roof ventilation systems the most important thing to know is how much air is exchanged. One and one half cubic feet of air exchange per minute will normally adequately vent the typical attic during both winter and summer.

The final portion of HVAC systems is the air conditioning. Your basic choices for home air conditioning units are central air, separate room units or heat pumps. Again, heat pumps are most efficient in regions with approximately the same hating and cooling demands. In most cases central is cheaper to operate than individual window or wall units. Normally the heating ducts carry the cooled air during the summer, so there is no need for two separate duct systems.

Remember, HVAC systems not only keep you comfortable, they protect your home form damage. Choose your systems carefully based on your location, your personal demands and your budget.  

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