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Your HVAC System Basics

Your HVAC system is a key part of your daily comfort. Today, most people simply assume that their heating and cooling system will work. When it’s not operational, you and your family can be miserable. In hotter months, the heat can become unbearable. In colder months, it can be just as bad. Unfortunately, many people don’t really understand the basic elements and components of their HVAC system, so HVAC repairs and maintenance remain mysterious. You can learn some of your HVAC system basics by reading below. You may find this information helpful when speaking with your HVAC technician.

The Thermostat

This is the part of your HVAC system that most people know. You’ll typically find your thermostat on the main level of your home. It’s a small device, usually attached to your wall. It controls your air conditioning and your heating. You can adjust the temperature, as well as check whether it’s set to auto, on, or off. A programmable or “smart’ thermostat can be a great investment. It learns your habits, and it can adjust itself to optimize your heating and cooling needs, while also lowering your energy bill. The greater efficiency can allow it to pay for itself over time.

The Heat Pump

Your heat pump works in two different ways. During colder months, the heat pump transmits heat from the outside of your home to the inside. During the hotter months, it reverses that process, so that it takes heat from inside your home and transfers it to the outside. It’s an integral part of your HVAC system.

The Ductwork and Vents

Most homeowners are familiar with the vents. You can adjust them to make them more open or closed. They can also build up dust and debris, so it’s important that you keep your vents clean. The ductwork is responsible for actually moving air throughout your home. The vents are just the visible end points of the ductwork, but your ducts are actually how the air is being circulated. Your ductwork should be cleaned and maintained regularly, since dust, mold, and other contaminants can build up within your ducts. Dirty ductwork can lead to health problems.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Every HVAC in Atlanta is a complex system, and getting familiar with it can be helpful in understanding both what your technician does and what your HVAC unit requires.


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