The HVAC system is one of the most important and most complex systems in your Houston area home. Learn about seven major components and how they keep your home comfortable.
The thermostat is often the most visible component of your HVAC system. It acts as the control center where you switch between heating and cooling systems as well as set temperatures on a weekly or seasonal basis. When the temperature in your home gets too high or too low, the thermostat prompts the heater or air conditioner to turn on until it returns your home to the desired temperature. If your home relies on zoning systems, you likely have a thermostat dedicated to managing the temperature in each zone.
To maximize energy usage, many homeowners rely on a programmable or smart thermostat. These devices allow you to stay comfortable while you’re home in the evening and then program adjusted temperatures when you’re at work during the day or asleep at night. Smart thermostats also rely on a Wi-Fi connection that allows you to adjust your home’s temperature settings from nearly anywhere. For assistance with optimizing your smart thermostat for each season, schedule a biannual HVAC tuneup.
In the summer, your home’s air conditioner relies on several parts to keep each room cool and comfortable. Outdoors, the condensing unit cools the refrigerant, which travels indoors through a tube in a condensed form. Indoors, the compressor keeps refrigerant under pressure and the expansion valve manages the refrigerant as it flows into the evaporator coil, while the evaporator coil provides the cool air that travels through the ductwork
The furnace is the HVAC system’s major heating component. Since they tend to be large, furnaces can generally be found in your home’s attic, basement, or utility closet. It’s responsible for heating air and transferring it to the ducts, which move warm air throughout the home. Depending on the available resources and your home’s heating needs, the furnaces may use a number of different methods to produce warm air. In the Houston area, homes generally rely on gas furnaces.
These devices are both heat and cool, effectively performing the functions of both furnaces and air conditioners. When a heat pump is in cooling mode, it uses the device’s refrigeration cycle to cool down warm air. When the outdoor temperatures drop, the heat pump reversing valve adjusts the refrigerant flow to warm up cool air instead. Heat pumps are ideal for mild winters, which makes them a popular choice in the Houston area.
Indoor air pollution is a common problem in homes in Texas and across the country, but your HVAC system can help keep indoor air clean. If you or your family members suffer from allergies or asthma, an air purifier can be a lifesaver. Whole-home air purifiers trap up to 99 percent of the harmful particles in your home’s air, including everything from pollen to germs to mold. Many air purifier models even capture dangerous pathogens like avian influenza, measles, and the common cold, which means they can do wonders to keep your family healthy year-round.