Comfort Pro’s Heat and Air keep you warm and cozy during winter and cool and comfortable during summer. They are also responsible for filtering and moving air, which helps prevent dust and allergens from building up in homes and businesses.
Heating systems use fossil-fueled furnaces or hydronic (hot water) systems to heat homes and large buildings. Cooling systems use a refrigeration cycle to transfer heat from indoor to outdoor air.
HVAC, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, covers various technologies that control indoor air temperature, humidity, and purity. It keeps you warm and cozy in winter and cool and fresh in summer while also helping maintain good indoor air quality. It also helps keep you healthy by filtering out dust, dander, pollen, and other pollutants that can cause respiratory problems. Most residential heating systems use natural gas, oil, or propane furnaces with ductwork to distribute heated air throughout the home. Air conditioners are usually powered by electricity. The combination is often referred to as forced-air. The design of such systems is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering. (Eds: adapted from Donaldson and Nagengast, 1994.)
Cooling relies on the principle that thermal energy will naturally move from high areas (hot) to low areas (cool). Air and water are more effective than solids like coal and wood. The cooling process involves speeding up this natural movement by actively moving thermal energy from products into the cooling medium and away from the product into the broader environment using conduction, convection, or radiation. The cooling medium is often the air itself, but it can also be other gases, such as carbon dioxide, or liquids, such as water.
The term HVAC, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, refers to the various systems used to control indoor air’s temperature, humidity, and purity. It is a field of mechanical engineering with a subdiscipline called refrigeration and air-conditioning technology.
The most common way to heat homes is the traditional combination of a furnace that heats the air and an AC system that cools the air. This combination is also known as forced air. The atmosphere is drawn in from outside, heated or cooled, and then distributed to the individual rooms through a network of ducts and registers. The air is filtered, and the excess humidity is removed, making it clean and comfortable.
The ventilation portion of your HVAC system is as important as heating, cooling, and de-humidifying. With it, your space could become more active, comfortable, and healthy. Ventilation allows fresh air to come in from outside and stale air to be expelled so that your room always has a flow of new, clean air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has a specific standard for ventilation requirements that must be met to have healthy indoor air quality.
The best way to understand ventilation is by looking at it as a natural process: pollutants are dispersed or displaced when outdoor air moves into and through space. Ventilation also provides fresh air that dilutes toxins and other contaminants like volatile organic compounds found in paint, cleaning products, building materials, furnishings, bacteria, mold, carbon dioxide, and more.
Ventilation can be achieved with natural, mechanical, or hybrid techniques. The choice depends on the occupants’ schedules, activities, health concerns, the space layout, and the climate in your region. The most common type of ventilation is through ductwork or plenums that connect the air handling unit and supply and exhaust fans with the spaces they serve.
Several types of mechanical ventilation systems can be installed in homes, from systems that operate independently to those connected to the existing heating and cooling system. It’s a good idea to talk to a professional to see what type of mechanical ventilation will work best for your space, usage patterns, and climate.
Even natural ventilation can have its challenges in some regions. For example, cold climates can limit the amount of outdoor air available and the velocity it moves through your space. In some cases, the low air flow can mean that pollution builds up inside, creating a negative environmental impact. In addition, humidity levels can increase, causing problems like wood rot and mold growth. For this reason, some homeowners turn to exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen for help with moisture control.
Many maintenance items on a homeowner’s to-do list can be deferred without major consequences, but heating and air conditioning service is not one of them. HVAC is responsible for cooling during the hottest days and keeping occupants warm at night, so it needs to be in tip-top shape all year round.
The good news is that a proactive approach to heating and air-conditioning maintenance can prevent most problems. The key is to recognize the early warning signs of technical difficulties and have a professional service technician perform preventive maintenance to protect the system and extend its lifecycle.
Often, the first sign of a problem is an unusual increase in electricity consumption from the air-conditioning unit. That can result from a loose fan belt, a corroded electrical connection, or a dirty filter. The HVAC expert can diagnose the problem, perform a repair or replacement, and provide recommendations for future preventive maintenance.
Seasonal preventive maintenance is a great way to safeguard against unexpected failures and maximize the equipment’s lifecycle. Preseason inspections can spot leaks, rust, rot, soot, and frayed wires before they become serious issues. It is also good to check for clogged drain lines, which can easily be cleaned with a wet-dry vacuum or a bottle of bleach.
Another common problem is the need for a thermostat to correctly monitor and control home temperatures. In this case, the thermostat should be replaced with a new, energy-efficient model that is more accurate and responsive. Finally, the electrical connections on ducted systems may need to be tightened. If they loosen over time, it can lead to losing power or even a fire.
One thousand five hundred units, and her maintenance requests spike by 50% during the summer. She has asked residents to request services in March and April, months before the heat wave hits, to ensure that all maintenance issues are addressed before summer arrives. That has led to fewer upset residents and lower maintenance costs for her property management company.