Residential and Commercial HVAC FAQs in Tampa Bay
A properly functioning HVAC system is key to your quality of life, especially when you live in Tampa Bay, FL. Without it, you would swelter during the humid summer months and catch a chill on crisp winter nights. Yet, many people don’t even know what “HVAC” stands for, let alone what an HVAC system consists of or how it works. Air Rescue is at your service! On this page, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about residential and commercial HVAC systems but were afraid to ask. Call our HVAC technicians in Tampa Bay, FL, if your system requires service or you need a new one installed.
What does HVAC stand for?
HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
What does the typical residential HVAC system consist of?
- Thermostat: This device, which is placed on a wall, allows you to set, change, or maintain the temperature in your home precisely to your liking. When you set your thermostat to the desired temperature, the furnace or air conditioner will automatically kick on if the ambient temperature of your home gets too hot or too cold. Programmable thermostats, or smart thermostats, can help you save on your energy bills and give you the closest thing to “set it and forget it” convenience on the market.
- Furnace: Even in sunny Florida, a well-working furnace is an essential component of a residential HVAC system. Most residential furnaces in the Tampa Bay, FL, area are the forced-air type, where warm air is generated inside the heating unit, then blown into the living space through the ductwork and vents. They can be powered by gas, oil, electricity, or boilers in some commercial facilities. The residential HVAC technicians at Air Rescue can work on all types of furnaces, as well as change yours out to a more efficient heat pump.
- Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger is a component of your furnace that comes on when your thermostat senses the ambient temperature has decreased to a level that is lower than you desire. It functions by pulling cool air in, heating it and then blowing it into the living area through the ductwork and vents.
- Evaporator Coil and Compressor: During Tampa Bay, FL’s hot, humid summer months, your HVAC system’s evaporator coil performs the vital function of cooling the air according to the setting on your home thermostat. When your A/C unit clicks on, the compressor will funnel liquid refrigerant into the evaporator coil, while a fan will draw warm air from the living space into the unit, a process known as a heat exchange. As the warm air passes over the evaporator coil, it quickly cools as moisture is drawn away from it. If yours is taking too long to cool the air or isn’t working at all, call Air Rescue without delay!
- Condensing Unit: Your A/C system’s condensing unit is a part of the evaporator coil. It sits on the outside of your home and contains the refrigerant gas that is used to cool the warm air drawn into the heat exchange system. After the refrigerant is converted to a liquid state upon exposure to warm exterior air, it is funneled to the evaporator coil for reconversion into a gaseous state.
- Refrigerant Lines: These are the copper or aluminum tubes that transport refrigerant to the condensing unit as gas, then cycle it back through the evaporator coil as a liquid.
- Ductwork: Ductwork is the network of square aluminum ducts that move warm or cool air from your furnace or A/C to vents throughout your home.
- Vents: The square or rectangular outlets that channel warmed or cooled air from the ductwork into the individual rooms of your home. These are typically located on the ceiling but can be found on the floor or baseboards in older homes. The slats can be moved in different angles to direct heated or cooled air to where it’s desired most, or they can be closed altogether in rooms that are used less frequently to conserve energy and save on utility bills.
Complete diagrams of how HVAC systems work can be found by doing a Google search or by calling our HVAC technicians for service.
What type of HVAC system do I have?
Statistically, most residential air conditioning systems in Tampa Bay, FL, are one of the following types:
- Split Systems/Heat Pumps: The condenser and compressor unit are housed in a metal cabinet outside the home. The fan and coil system are located inside the home, with refrigerant lines connecting the two.
- Packaged A/C Units: All system components are housed in a single cabinet, which can sometimes include a heating device. The unit is usually located on a home’s roof or outside wall.
- Mini-Split/Ductless Systems: A more compact version of the split system, a mini-split/ductless system consists of an outside condenser/compressor unit and an interior fan and heat exchange system. These systems are typically used in room additions or other situations where installing ductwork is not convenient, either logistically or cost-wise.
- Portable/Window Mount Units: These are separate, self-contained A/C units that can easily be installed within a window frame to cool a single room on an as-needed basis
If you’re unsure of the type of A/C unit you have or if you have questions about its care and maintenance, call Air Rescue anytime.
For heating, most Florida homes rely on electric furnaces, with a small number of older homes still using propane or natural gas. At Air Rescue, we have found heat pumps to be the best type of heating and air conditioning system because heat pumps can take care of all your climate control needs from one device, which saves you money both in the short term and for the long haul. Call our office in Tampa Bay, FL, to get a quote on installing one in your home.
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