HVAC systems keep you comfy through all seasons. But that’s not all. See what else they do and learn which system is best for your home.
What is an HVAC system?
In What Does HVAC Mean? we covered the ABCs of HVAC: heating, ventilation and air conditioning. If you’ve read it, you know HVAC systems are about more than just heating and cooling. They’re essential to air quality and total comfort. And they perform best when designed to work seamlessly with your home.
Most have these elements:
- A heating component (furnace) and a cooling component (air conditioner). A heat pump could also serve both purposes.
- A means of air distribution, like your home’s ductwork, which blows heated or cooled air into the rooms in your home.
- A control center, or a thermostat, which tells your system when to start and stop. This is where you set the temperature and program your preferences.
Types of HVAC systems available
HVAC systems fall under two main classifications: (1) central/split or (2) ductless. The kind you need depends on whether your home has central ductwork.
Central/Split HVAC Systems
If you have ducts and vents in your home, you have a forced-air system to control your airflow. This means your furnace and central AC can send warmed or cooled air into your home through a system of passages.
Heating and Air Conditioning Split System
The most popular setup, this system splits heating and cooling into two units — one inside the home and one outside. The AC or heat pump sits outside and the furnace inside.
Packaged Heating & Air Conditioning System
This system has just one unit with combined heating and cooling functions. It typically lives outside on your roof or next to your home.
Dual Fuel Systems
Fueled by both electricity and natural gas, these are also called hybrid units. By pairing a heat pump (which handles both heating and cooling) and a furnace, this system can choose the most efficient method for temperature control.
Ductless HVAC Systems
If you don’t have ductwork (or a way to run ductwork to each room), a ductless system is your best solution. Even if you do have ductwork but have a room it doesn’t reach, ductless solutions offer a way to target that area.
Ductless Mini-Split System
This is the most popular ductless solution. Like other split systems, it has two units — one inside and one outside. You can design your system to support more areas of your home with extra mounted units (per room).
Ready to choose?
Ready to choose?
With all these options, HVAC decisions can be complicated. If you’re searching for a new system or need service for your current one, Baker Electric Home Energy is here to help.
Our certified technicians can repair any HVAC issue and service all makes and models. When building new systems, we customize the size and setup to fit your specific needs.
Our recommendations always focus on your comfort as well as maximizing efficiency to save you money. We’ll never rush you through a decision and we’ll make sure you understand the “how” and “why” of any system you buy.
It’s a word you’ve heard and probably said, but what exactly does it mean? Learn the ABCs of HVAC here.
What does HVAC mean?
HVAC — one of those acronyms most folks generally understand, but if you ask for a definition, you may get as many variations as people you talk to. Why? Well to answer this question, let’s start by defining what those letters stand for:
Heating: the function of generating heat to warm an area
Ventilation: the process of moving fresh air in and old air out
Air Conditioning (AC): the parts that work to provide cooling and humidity control
In short, HVAC refers to the systems used to heat and cool your home, as well as move air for ventilation. Simple, right (or not)?
What is the difference between HVAC and AC?
If you’ve ever used HVAC to refer to your AC, don’t worry, that’s pretty common. And it’s not wrong, it’s just one slice of the pie (since air conditioning is just one function of HVAC). In fact, in the heating and cooling industry, it’s common to see HVAC used very broadly because most service providers offer both solutions.
It also helps to understand that HVAC systems take different shapes and sizes and offer different benefits. Depending on the design and needs, it’s even possible for an HVAC system to not actually include an air conditioning unit. We’ll cover types of systems in more depth here.
What’s the takeaway?
The bottom line is that your HVAC system manages the air you breathe and the climate you live in at home. You know how crucial those factors are to your family’s comfort and health, which is why you want only the best HVAC experts handling your heating and cooling needs.
Baker Home Energy technicians are HIS-licensed & EPA-certified. So when you work with us, you can count on a team that knows and follows local guidelines, plus has the EPA’s approval for our dedication to clean and safe practices. Whether we’re helping you with an emergency repair, routine maintenance or installing a new system, your comfort and safety are #1. Because we believe good HVAC care is really about good people care.
The life of your HVAC system will depend on several factors, many of which you can control. Here are a few guidelines to keep your system humming for a long time.
How long do HVAC systems last?
Most HVAC systems have a lifespan of about 12–15 years. As a system nears its end, it runs less efficiently, increases energy bills and needs more repairs. When this happens, most homeowners upgrade their furnace and air conditioner together because much like a pair of shoes, they work together.
Running with imbalanced units taxes the stronger one to carry more of the load, wearing both out faster. But two units operating at their best make for optimal performance and a reliable lifespan.
Factors that affect HVAC service life
Climate —furnaces work harder in cold climates and air conditioners work harder in warm climates
Skipping maintenance — tune-ups are essential twice a year, including a full inspection, cleaning and flushing coils, fluid check, filter replacement and more.
Sizing —a system too large will continuously cycle on and off. A system too small will run constantly. Both tax your equipment too much.
Quality — high-quality equipment with professional installation will serve you longer and better. It pays to choose industry-leading experts.
Poor installation — dangerous and a drag on efficiency, certified HVAC professionals prevent this by sizing your system correctly and checking your ductwork, insulation and air supply.
How to make your HVAC system last longer
Change your air filters
The best way to impact the life of your HVAC system is one you probably already know: change your air filters often. When filters become clogged, they choke your system and can lead to cracks in the coil and heat exchanger.
Perfect, that’s covered in your tune-ups, right? Right. But we do encourage changing them more often — at least every 90 days. You can change them on your own or call us for help.
Keep up with maintenance
Schedule AC service at the start of spring and furnace service in early fall. Being prepared for that first hot or cold day of the season means your system won’t get stressed and neither will you.
Don’t ignore signs of a problem
We get it — there’s never a convenient time for a repair, but we promise it’s worth it. Acting quickly could mean the difference in needing a minor repair now versus total replacement too soon
Use a smart thermostat
They help your system run more efficiently, lighten its workload and prevent extra wear and tear. All of this supports a longer lifespan.
Let Baker Electric Home Energy help
For maintenance, check out our service plans, where you’re guaranteed the expertise of a certified technician at every visit.
Depend on us for emergency repairs. Our technicians are experienced with every make and model and can handle any problem, big or small.
Shopping for an upgrade? Let our professionals take the stress out of that decision. We specialize in fitting homes with right-sized, efficient systems. And we recommend only the same quality brands we trust in our own homes.
We’ll help you build a system to provide years of service, save money on your energy bills and ultimately pay for itself.
You’ve heard solar is the way to go, but have you heard of all it can do? Here are our top four ways to harness the power of solar energy for your everyday life.
What is Solar Energy Used For?
It’s reliable. It’s affordable. It’s eco-friendly. But did you know solar energy is multi-faceted too? Check out these four everyday uses we love for solar energy.
- Home power
It’s only proper to start with one of the most commonly known uses for solar: electricity for your home. Rooftop solar is the best option for most homeowners, though ground-mounted systems are an option too. Expert solar professionals like Baker Home Energy can help you build a system to fully power all your energy needs or offset a certain amount.
A home solar battery works with a solar system to provide a power source at night or during emergencies, like California blackouts. They’re able to do this by storing your extra energy production ahead of time (for use later). Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular and recommended type of battery for this job.
As solar has become more common, it’s become more accessible in countless ways, including some of the coolest and most useful gadgets a Californian could want. Here are some of our personal favorites:
- Phone chargers/portable battery packs
- Rechargeable flashlights
- Travel music speakers
- Camping cookers
Solar lighting is one more way to transform your home into a smart, clean-energy-producing machine. Energy.gov recommends them for pathway lighting, light posts, security lights and more. They work especially great in SoCal, where you’ll get plenty of sun to charge them during the day and keep them running at night.
What are the most efficient uses for solar energy?
If savings and independence are how you measure efficiency, there’s one ultimate way to do that: a combination solar + home battery system.
A solar + battery system that supports all your energy needs can power your whole home with less expensive and much cleaner energy. Energy-chugging appliances (we’re looking at you, air conditioner)? Check. Electric Vehicles? Check. All the electronics that support your busy day? Check. With solar, your entire life can operate more smoothly and more affordably.
A solar + battery combo also makes energy independence possible. This is a term we use to describe living with little to no reliance on the grid. It’s a beautiful thing because it means you own a powerful energy source during the day as well as a secure backup source for nighttime or emergencies. Done right, you’re essentially living off-grid. That’s ultimate efficiency.
Curious if you can achieve that? Give Baker Home Energy Solar Experts a call and we’ll help you make it happen.
Ask how we can help today