A New Homeowners Guide to HVAC – What Equipment is In My Home

Becoming a new homeowner is overwhelming. Your mind is flooding with questions about what you’ll need to do to maintain and improve upon your home so your family can enjoy it for years to come. Our team worked together to create a guide for getting to know your heating and cooling systems within your home.

Introduce Yourself to Your Equipment


Your heating system should include three components traditionally:

A source of heat – Traditionally a furnace, boiler, or a heat pump

A way of distributing that heat 

A control system that allows you to set the temperature of your home

Furnaces heat the air and then circulate the heated air through duct systems which is delivered into the rooms of your home through registers.

Boilers heat the water and then circulate warm water or steam through pips while radiators and baseboard heaters supply heat to your rooms.

Heat pumps are both a heating and a cooling system and transfer hot and cold air between the inside and outside of buildings.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioners and refrigerators work in just about the same way – transferring heat from one area and moving it to another. Central air conditioning systems use fans to draw air through ducts to an evaporator coil that can remove heat and moisture from the air. The then cooled air is transferred back into the room. The heat that was removed from the air is transferred to a refrigerant that is taken to an outdoor unit containing a compressor and a condenser to release hot air into the outside air. Window units work in a similar fashion, but everything is contained in one cabinet.

The Control System

Heating and cooling systems are controlled by a thermostat located in your home. A thermostat allows you to change the temperature in your home by either choosing a temperature setting or by using a programmable model to set your temperature settings based on the time of day. Programmable models are preferred to save you in energy costs, this way you’re not heating or cooling rooms you’re not using.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are electrical devices that are able to provide both heating and cooling. These HVAC devices produce anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3x the energy they consume. When cooling, heat pumps pull warm air out of the house and replace it with cool air. When heating, they extract heat from the outdoor air and transfer it indoors. Some pump types that might be in your home include:

Air-Source Heat Pump – Described above and most common

Geothermal Heat Pumps – Use the earth as a heat source

Heat pumps are rated in two different ways because of their ability to provide both heating and cooling. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is able to measure the efficiency of the cooling system. A high number recognizes a more efficient system. You’ll traditionally want your SEER to fall above 14. The Seasonal Heating Performance Factor (HSPF) measures the heating efficiency of your heat pump. You’ll want this number to fall above 7.7.

Ductless Systems

Ductless mini-split systems provide cooling and heating depending on the model used without the need to install ductwork. They contain both an indoor and outdoor component. The outdoor cabinet holds the compressor and condenser which is connected to the interior unit by a pipe carrying electrical connections and refrigerant lines

Still Need Help Figuring Out the HVAC In Your Home?

Give our experts a call. We can help you figure out your equipment, make recommendations for energy efficient upgrades, and repair any systems not working properly in your home.

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