Owning a Home 101: How Does Your HVAC System Work

July 24, 2022


Nothing beats walking into a comfortable, cool room when the temperatures are soaring or a warm, cozy home on a cold winter day. All you have to do is tap a device, press a button, or adjust a knob on your thermostat, and your home will transition to the ideal temperature. All that is thanks to your HVAC system, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. So, besides regulating indoor temperatures, it improves air quality through purification and filtration, manages humidity, and replenishes oxygen levels.

So, HVAC systems maintain a healthy environment in your home. You should consider looking for local installation HVAC companies if you still don’t own an HVAC system. So, for example, if you live in Barrie, Canada, or anywhere in the surrounding area of Ontario and want to make your home more comfortable, seek certified Barrie HVAC installation companies that offer outstanding service. After evaluating your home, the professionals will help you determine the right HVAC system for your home.

How Does an HVAC System Work?

All systems have four major components that work together. Different models or brands may have unique features or be of higher or lower quality, but the fundamental elements are the same:


The furnace uses oil or natural gas to heat the air through a heat exchanger to the proper temperature. Furnaces are typically found in attics, basements, or specially constructed closets.

AC Unit

The AC is powered by electricity and contains a refrigerant that cools the air. Hot air is blown outside when it passes through the AC unit, while cool air is blown in.


The thermostat is the HVAC system's "brain" and the element you will interact with most. It regulates the temperature and any other features your system might have. It also turns various system elements on and off.


This component transports cold and hot air throughout your home. In modern homes, people usually install ductwork above the ceiling or behind the walls.

Cooling Your Home

Rather than producing cold air, as is commonly believed, heat pumps and air conditioners absorb heat from within your home and transport it to the outdoor unit. Then, it’s vented into the atmosphere. A cooling system's refrigerant is a crucial part of this. The refrigerant can be gaseous or liquid at different pressures.

The HVAC system regulates the pressures based on where the refrigerant is. It can then absorb ambient heat and remove it when it reaches a different pressure. Heat is systematically removed from your home by repeating the trip from inside to outside and regulating the refrigerant's pressure accordingly.

Heating Your Home

A furnace produces heat using electrical energy or burning its fuel source. The fuel source is usually gas, but it can also be oil or propane. When it comes to heating up the place, a heat pump works a little differently. It can absorb heat from the outside and transfer it inside. So, it isn't so much generating heat as moving it from one location to another.

A heat pump would still be able to absorb heat from the outside, even in freezing temperatures, but at a less efficient rate. The heat pump, in most cases, is paired with an electric furnace to improve efficiency. The furnace has compatible technology and boosts the heating capabilities of the pump.

Ventilating Your Home

The ductwork is the main component for ventilating your home. It’s directly connected to the cooling and heating system. Heating system ventilation can also include a vent stack or chimney flue for releasing excess heat. The furnace efficiency determines what percentage of its energy is used to heat your home. Even in the most efficient heaters, the rest of the heat is vented.

Depending on the equipment, the HVAC professionals will decide whether the ventilation will be on the house's side or above. That will prevent moisture in the HVAC system, which can cause long-term damage.

Wrapping Up

Simply put, HVAC equipment moves air. The system exists to push warm air elsewhere, either into or out of the home. A basic system consists of a cooling unit, a heating unit, and a duct that transports heated or cooled air.

In addition to the AC and furnace, the HVAC system includes combined systems such as air-quality equipment or heat pumps. It also consists of smart thermostats and control systems that make everything work. Now that you understand how an HVAC system works, you'll be better prepared to maintain it.


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