facebook noscript

Say Hello to Your HVAC System: Here’s a Simple Guide

Some People Don’t Know Anything About Their Heater or Air Conditioner, Mostly Because They Haven’t Read This Blog

HVAC maintenance, furnace repair
On the other hand, this girl looks like she probably knows a lot about HVAC.

For many Americans, life is a whole lot more pleasant since the advent of the ordinary HVAC system. It keeps us cool in the summer and warm in the winter, for a fraction of the difficulty and cost that older heating and cooling techniques used to employ. These units generally work well, too, and protect many particularly vulnerable folks from extremes in temperature that would otherwise jeopardize their health and safety. Workers are more productive when they can enjoy indoor comfort, letting business thrive.

Your HVAC Unit: Not So Easy Peasy

But how much do you really know about this system for which you’ve probably paid quite a bit of money? Let’s review some of the basics. After all, a bit of familiarity may help you prevent costly problems farther down the road. Here are some terms and technologies it helps to familiarize yourself with as a home or business owner.

We can start with elements of your outdoor unit, the big square thing stationed outside your home or office.  Our consultants usually start there, jotting things down on a clipboard.

The compressor

This is the Big Kahuna, the driving force behind a functioning HVAC system. The compressor circulates refrigerant necessary for heat exchange through the indoor and outdoor coils of your unit. In doing so, it converts this refrigerant gas into a liquid, where it can cool the air as it passes through the coils.

This system can get dirty with dust and grime, interfering with the cooling cycle. The coils can leak, the refrigerant can run low, and sometimes the compressor motor can malfunction. Compressor and coil problems are expensive, so it’s important to inspect and maintain them before small issues become big ones.

Ready to move on? Remember, it’s an open book test and you’ll get plenty of extra credit.

The blower

This mechanism sucks warm air through the main housing of the outdoor unit. You want to make sure this process is as efficient as possible, to save energy costs and preserve your unit’s functioning. A bad blower means a bad HVAC system, and lack of indoor comfort, not to mention an expensive one to run.

There are two main kinds of blowers. An Operating-Point Blower, and an Operating-Range Blower. Talk to your Air-Tro consultant about which kind will meet your energy needs best. There are significant differences between the two.

Exhaust outlets

As it works to heat your home, your HVAC system will need to create exhaust. This gas is dangerous, and not something you want building up in your home or office. For that reason, it’s critically important for your vent stack or chimney flue to function properly, along with your ductwork. A yearly inspection is always useful to make sure your furnace and its exhaust system is functioning properly. Why take a chance?


As your HVAC system pump air through its ducts into your indoor space, your system has air filters guide to catch dust, dirt and other grime from entering through the vents. As you can imagine, these filters get dirty over time, especially if you have pets. While different HVAC experts will tell you different timelines for their replacement, everyone agrees they need to be changed regularly. A less expensive fiberglass filter might need to be switched out every 30 days, while a more elaborate, high end pleated filter could be swapped out every 6 months.

Are you ready for a quiz? Surprise! There isn’t one. And besides, who needs an exam when you can just get in touch with the folks at Air-Tro with any questions? We’re always here to help!

HVAC systems are complicated. Don’t take a chance when it comes to maintenance or repairs. Call the professionals at Air-Tro! (626) 357-3535.