A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is vital in any home, helping maintain a comfortable indoor environment. Moreover, HVAC systems serve secondary functions like maintaining pristine indoor air quality and preventing property damage from condensate.
However, HVAC systems have a limited shelf life, and installing a new system is among the home upgrades homeowners must undertake. The right move is to contact HVAC professionals like The Trade Table Company to recommend and install a new system.
However, understanding your HVAC system allows you to participate in decision-making. So, below is a guide to HVAC system installation.
How Does An HVAC System Work? Components Of An HVAC System
Essentially, HVAC systems rely on air circulation in an indoor space to regulate the temperatures within a room and purify the air. Below is an overview of primary HVAC components to help understand how the system works.
- The Heating System
A typical HVAC heating system features a heat source, a heat distribution channel, and a heat control mechanism. Heat source types include a furnace, heat pump, or a boiler like the Rinnai tankless water heater, which provides the heat necessary to generate warm air for circulation within the home.
On the other hand, heat distribution systems like radiators create the required force to circulate the warm air. Lastly, the heat control system is a thermostat that helps regulate the volume of hot air distributed according to ambient temperatures in the house.
- Air Conditioning
The air conditioning in an HVAC system features a condenser, compressor, and evaporator that cool, purify hot air, and drain condensate from your air into your plumbing system. A condenser is the portion of the HVAC system located outdoors that draws in or expels air from a building.
Second, the compressor connects the condenser and the evaporator and moves the refrigerant between the two components to facilitate the heat transfer cycle. Lastly, the evaporator facilitates the refrigerant’s conversion into the vapor used in the heat transfer cycle.
Air conditioning types include central ACs, window ACs, and mini-split AC systems like the Mr. Cool mini-split. Mini-split AC systems have the lowest installation costs because they do not require ductwork. Portable power stations like the Ecoflow Delta 2 can power such systems.
- Secondary HVAC System Components
- The Heat Exchanger
Facilitates heat transfer to the air flowing into the heat source.
- The Evaporator Coil
It is a portion of the evaporator unit and allows the refrigerant to flow through it to absorb heat from the hot air flowing into the evaporator.
It either works by absorbing heat from the indoor air during hot weather to keep the indoor spaces cool. Alternatively, it works in reverse by absorbing heat from outdoor air during cold weather and redirecting the heat indoors to keep indoor spaces warm.
It is a series of channels or networks that transfer air from the HVAC system to individual rooms within the house. Ductwork requires proper insulation to function efficiently.
Vents are the covers on the ceiling and flow that allow air to enter a room. They connect to the ductwork network.
How To Know When It’s Time To Replace Your HVAC System
An HVAC system’s projected lifespan ranges from 10-20 years. Below are indicators that it’s time to upgrade to a new HVAC system.
- HVAC systems lose energy efficiency with time, so an ever-increasing bill signifies that your HVAC system needs replacing. One government report shows that HVAC systems account for approximately 40% of a building’s total energy consumption; an inefficient system will inflate your bill.
- Frequent need for repairs shows that your system is on its last legs; replacing it will save you money.
- Low indoor air quality with dust, unusual smells, and other pollutants indicates that your current HVAC system needs replacing.
- Uncomfortable temperatures show that your HVAC system needs replacement.
- Strange noises keep coming from your HVAC system.
Considerations When Purchasing A New HVAC System
Below are factors to consider before purchasing an HVAC system.
- Home Size
Evaluate your house size to determine how much heating or cooling is necessary. An HVAC system that is too small for your space is ineffective, while one that is too large has higher maintenance costs due to energy inefficiency. You can consult a professional HVAC installer to conduct a loading calculation of your home using specialized equipment and establish accurate heating and cooling requirements.
HVAC installations are expensive, so you plan on how to fund the upgrade.
- Energy Efficiency
HVAC systems feature season energy efficient ratings (SEER); the higher the score, the more energy-efficient the system is. Moreover, you can claim federal tax credits for up to 30% of the total installation cost if you upgrade to an energy-efficient system.
HVAC system warranties range from 5-10 years and cover different parts, so read the fine print.
Steps In Installing an HVAC System
- Figure Out the Best Time to Install the System
The best time to install an HVAC system is in the fall or spring (HVAC companies’ off-peak season) because the conducive weather keeps homes comfortable without AC. Also, HVAC companies have fewer calls during these seasons and charge lower installation fees.
- Consider Installation Location
Identify the best place inside and outside the house to position various HVAC system components for efficiency and easy maintenance. For instance, thermostats should stay away from heated areas like an Empire fireplace or a Dundalk barrel sauna that can manipulate ambient temperature. Moreover, proximity to cooking appliances like a FireMagic grill or a WPPO pizza oven also affects a thermostat’s effectiveness.
- Examine Existing Ductwork
Examine the ductwork to determine whether it needs cleaning, repair, or replacement. Also, ensure the old ductwork is compatible with the new HVAC system to avoid surprises during installation.
- Investigate Refrigeration Pipes
Besides the ductwork, refrigeration pipes are crucial to an HVAC system’s efficiency. So, examine the pipes to ensure no refrigerant leakage.
- Prepare Your Home for Installation
HVAC installation is messy, so move any furniture and appliances that may incur damage from the dust and debris. Also, consider draping tarps on floors and furniture to avoid damage.
“It’s crucial to entrust the installation process to licensed heating, ventilating, and air conditioning technicians. So, instead of saving money on professional service, pick a more suitable time frame to install the system so that it fits your budget.”
- Check To Ensure the System Works
Start the system and observe it for a day or two to ensure its functions efficiently. You can consult an HVAC professional for advice on early signs of poor installation, the need for repair, and proper maintenance.
Understanding your HVAC system is vital to making informed consumer choices. However, the process requires expert knowledge, so consider hiring a certified HVAC professional to install the system and advise on proper maintenance.