Essential HVAC System Basics to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Introduction to Home : Understanding Costs, Terminology, Products, and Maintenance Schedules

Understanding Home Heating and Cooling: A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Make the Best HVAC Decisions for Your Home

Are you feeling lost when it comes to home heating and cooling systems? You're definitely not alone in this. In fact, Consumer Reports states that 20% of Americans have had to repair or replace their HVAC systems within the past year, but most of them feel daunted by the task at hand.

But don't fret if you're unsure about where to start. We're here to assist you in getting familiar with what you need to know before starting any projects or making significant HVAC purchases. This way, you can make informed decisions that are suitable for your home and your needs.

What is HVAC and how does it function?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It is a system that is used to control the temperature, humidity, and air quality within a building. HVAC systems are commonly found in homes, offices, and other commercial buildings. In this text, we will take a closer look at what HVAC is and how it works.

What is an HVAC system?

An HVAC system comprises multiple components that not only regulate temperature but also ensure your air is filtered and purified, safeguarding you and your loved ones against allergens, pollutants, and hazardous chemicals. Understanding the various parts of an HVAC system or heating and cooling products in a home can help you comprehend their individual functions in providing year-round comfort.

An HVAC system refers to the collection of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning components in a building. It functions to regulate indoor temperature, humidity, and air quality, ensuring that occupants remain comfortable and healthy regardless of the weather conditions outside. By utilizing various components, such as air filters, heat pumps, and ductwork, an HVAC system can not only heat or cool your home but also remove pollutants and allergens from the air, providing a healthier living environment. Understanding the different parts and functions of an HVAC system can help homeowners appreciate the vital role it plays in maintaining their comfort and well-being.


Although many individuals comprehend that a furnace is responsible for heating a house, not everyone is knowledgeable about the various complex components involved in the system. The four primary constituents of a furnace include 1) burners that deliver and ignite the fuel, 2) heat exchangers, 3) a blower, and 4) a flue that functions as an exhaust for gaseous byproducts. By burning fuel, a furnace produces heat and disseminates it throughout the residence.

Air Conditioner

The process by which an air conditioner works involves extracting heat energy from inside a building and releasing it outside. In residential homes, the most prevalent configuration is a split system, consisting of an indoor evaporative heat exchanger and an outdoor condensing unit heat exchanger.

Heat pump

If you reside in a mild climate zone and want an energy-efficient option to regulate the temperature in your home, a heat pump is worth considering. It utilizes the outdoor air to warm up your home in the winter and cool it down in the summer. Heat pumps can be perplexing for homeowners, especially as a cooling system, since the word “heat” is included in their name. However, in essence, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another, extracting heat from your home when you want it to be cooler, and injecting the heat into your home when you want it to be warmer.

Air handler

Typically, an air handler is used in conjunction with a heat pump to facilitate the movement of air throughout a residence. However, if you are seeking a conventional air conditioning or , an air handler is unnecessary as these systems are equipped with the requisite internal components for air circulation.

Ductless systems

A mini split or ductless HVAC system is a heating and cooling system that doesn't require ductwork to deliver warm or cool air to one or multiple rooms. They are particularly useful for areas such as room additions, sunrooms, garages, or parts of the home that require extra heating or cooling. With a ductless system, you can easily regulate the temperature of a single room without the need to install any additional ductwork. This makes it a convenient and efficient option for heating or cooling a specific area in your home.


Inside your home, there is a device called a thermostat that acts as a regulator to manage your indoor temperature. Thermostats are generally categorized into two types: traditional and connected controls. Connected controls, also known as smart thermostats, can interact with other smart home systems and learn over time to optimize heating and cooling efficiency. On the other hand, traditional thermostats are simpler in functionality, but some of them also provide programmable features.

How does the cost of a new HVAC system vary based on different factors?

When it comes to purchasing a new Trane HVAC system, there are a variety of methods to save on costs. You can consult with your local Goodman dealer to learn about available local rebates, tax credits, and time-limited special offers. Additionally, several factors can influence the overall cost of a new heating and cooling system, which are outlined below.


When it comes to selecting an energy-efficient system for your home and reducing energy consumption, it's crucial to consider the region and climate you live in. The heating and cooling requirements differ significantly between hot and humid southern regions and colder northern areas. Additionally, the installation costs of these systems can vary by up to 20%, depending on your location.

Home size and construction

To maintain a comfortable temperature in a large home, a bigger cooling and heating unit or multiple systems may be required, which can result in higher costs compared to smaller homes. Additionally, the monthly heating and cooling expenses can also be impacted by the quality of insulation and the effectiveness of window and door seals in the house.


The ductwork in your home has a significant impact on the overall comfort of each room. When it's designed and installed correctly, it can optimize comfort levels and minimize energy consumption. Whether you're building a new home or upgrading your existing HVAC system, incorporating ductwork can increase your total costs by up to $2,000 – $3,000.

Project difficulty

If your new system is planned for a hard-to-reach space or if you live in a historic home that requires retrofitting, you'll see your HVAC installation price increase. Only with an onsite evaluation will these kinds of costs be discovered.

Indoor air quality and connected smart thermostats

Along with your traditional heating and cooling system, there are various options available to enhance the overall indoor air quality of your home. You may consider installing an air cleaner to remove allergens, pollutants, and other harmful particles from the air. Another option is to add climate zones to your home, which allows you to control the temperature of specific areas independently. Additionally, you can take advantage of the latest smart home, connected thermostat controls to manage your heating and cooling system more efficiently and conveniently

Heating and cooling terms to know

Understanding heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technology can be overwhelming due to the technical acronyms, terms, and abbreviations. However, here are a few important terms that can help you comprehend HVAC products and select the best system for your needs.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency): A rating that measures the efficiency of a furnace in converting heat to energy. A higher AFUE percentage means more efficiency and lower energy costs.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): A rating that measures the cooling efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump. A higher SEER number indicates greater efficiency and lower energy costs.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): A ratio that evaluates the heating efficiency of heat pumps. An HSPF of 7.8 or higher is considered high efficiency.

Split system: An HVAC system consisting of two parts: an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. Split systems are commonly used in modern homes.

Packaged System: An all-in-one HVAC solution with most of the components for heating and/or cooling housed in a single cabinet.

Heating stages: The number of settings a furnace or heat pump has. Variable or multi-stage systems offer more precise temperature control and run more efficiently than single-stage systems.

Cooling stages: The number of settings an air conditioner or heat pump has. Variable or multi-stage systems offer more precise temperature control and run more efficiently than single-stage air conditioners.

ENERGY STAR®: A designation designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient products.

Hybrid system: A dual-fuel system that combines an electric heat pump with a gas furnace for greater efficiency and energy savings.

If you need more information on HVAC terms, visit our HVAC glossary for a more comprehensive list.

Anticipating HVAC Maintenance for Different Seasons: A Comprehensive Guide

Regular HVAC maintenance can provide numerous benefits, such as preparing your system for the upcoming season, reducing energy expenses, prolonging the system's lifespan, and identifying potential problems before they turn into costly repairs. Some of the tasks included in scheduled HVAC maintenance are replacing filters, cleaning coils and condensers, replacing worn-out parts, unclogging drains, checking for leaks, changing batteries, inspecting ducts for dust and debris, examining electrical connections, assessing blowers for proper airflow, inspecting heating elements or the heat exchanger, checking gas pressure, lubricating moving components like bearings and motors, ensuring proper assembly, and verifying that all parts are functioning correctly. To simplify scheduling maintenance for each system, it is recommended to follow this standard:

Scheduled HVAC maintenance includes several important items that should be checked regularly to ensure that the system is functioning efficiently and safely. Some of the key items that should be included in any maintenance schedule are:

Filter replacement: Filters should be replaced on a regular basis to keep the air clean and flowing freely through the system.

Cleaning coils and condensers: Dirty coils and condensers can reduce the efficiency of the system and cause it to work harder than necessary.

Replacing worn parts: Any parts that are showing signs of wear or damage should be replaced to prevent further problems down the line.

Clearing clogs or drain problems: Clogs or drainage issues can cause water damage and other issues that can be costly to repair.

Checking for leaks: Leaks can cause the system to lose efficiency and can also be a safety hazard.

Changing batteries, as needed: Batteries in the thermostat or other components should be changed regularly to ensure proper function.

Inspecting ducts for dust, mold, and debris: Ducts should be inspected regularly for any signs of debris, mold, or other issues that can impact air quality.

Checking electrical system connections: Electrical connections should be checked regularly to ensure that they are secure and functioning properly.

Inspecting blowers for airflow: The blowers in the system should be checked to ensure that they are providing adequate airflow throughout the system.

Inspecting heating elements or the heat exchanger: These components should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good working order and not posing any safety hazards.

Checking gas pressure: Gas pressure should be checked regularly to ensure that the system is operating safely and efficiently.

Lubricating moving parts, such as bearings and motors: Moving parts should be lubricated regularly to ensure that they are functioning smoothly and not causing unnecessary wear and tear on the system.

Checking that assembly is in order: All components of the system should be checked to ensure that they are properly assembled and functioning as they should.

Ensuring all parts are in good working order: Finally, all parts of the system should be checked to ensure that they are in good working order and not in need of repair or replacement.

By following this standard checklist, it is easier to remember to schedule maintenance for each system on a regular basis, which can help ensure that the HVAC system is operating efficiently and safely at all times.

Heating system (furnace or heat pump)

Arrange for a meeting during the late summer or early autumn, prior to the heating season.

Cooling system (air conditioner or heat pump)

Book an appointment during the end of winter or the beginning of spring, prior to the onset of the cooling season.

How do you know if you should repair or replace your HVAC system?

When your home's heating and cooling systems are no longer providing the desired level of comfort, it could be a sign to consider whether to repair or replace your HVAC system. In particular, if your HVAC system is no longer covered by a warranty and the expenses for repairs are becoming excessively high, it may be time to contemplate replacing it. Additionally, certain warning indicators may suggest that it's time to replace your HVAC system.

Consider replacing your system if you encounter any of the following issues:

Your system requires frequent repairs.

  1. It is showing signs of poor performance.
  2. Your energy costs have significantly increased.

Consider replacing your air conditioner if it meets any of the following criteria:

  1. It has been in use for over 10 years.
  2. Its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is 10 or lower.

Consider replacing your furnace if it has exceeded its 15-year lifespan or has an AFUE rating of 80% or lower.

Consider replacing your heat pump in the following situations:

  1. If it has been in use for more than 10 years.
  2. If its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is 10 or less.
  3. If its HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) rating is 8 or less.

Replacing your heat pump in these scenarios can help you improve its energy efficiency, reduce your energy bills, and ensure that your home stays comfortable throughout the year. It is advisable to consult with a professional HVAC technician to determine the most appropriate replacement for your needs.

Financial Tip: Follow the $5,000 Rule

One helpful guideline when deciding whether to repair or replace a piece of equipment is the $5,000 rule. Simply take the age of the equipment and multiply it by the estimated cost of repairs. If the resulting number is greater than $5,000, it may be more cost-effective to replace the unit rather than continue to repair it.

One last tip: Talk to a dealer

After gaining an understanding of the fundamental concepts, it is advisable to consult with your nearby Goodman dealer for a comprehensive assessment and personalized suggestion on which heating and cooling system would be most suitable for your specific needs.

What benefits are there to consulting with a professional HVAC dealer?

If you want a thorough and accurate assessment of your home's HVAC requirements, then a dealer is the ideal and most reliable source. Moreover, they can collaborate with you to propose a personalized solution that matches your residence and financial constraints. Below are some of the ways they can assist you:

  1. Personalized Home Evaluations
  2. Immediate repairs during emergencies and routine seasonal maintenance
  3. Assessment of indoor air quality
  4. Guidance on local incentives and exclusive deals.

Did you know?

Did you know that heating and cooling systems consume over 50% of the energy in your home? However, by upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, you could save up to $576 on your annual energy costs on average. Moreover, if you opt for a qualified energy-efficient HVAC system, you may qualify for tax credits and rebates that can further reduce your expenses. To take advantage of these offers and local rebates, contact your nearest dealer today.


The heating component of an HVAC system is responsible for keeping the indoor space warm during the colder months. There are a variety of heating systems that can be used in an HVAC system, including furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps. Furnaces and boilers use either natural gas or oil to heat the air or water that is circulated throughout the building. Heat pumps, on the other hand, use electricity to move heat from the outdoor air into the indoor space.


The ventilation component of an HVAC system is responsible for maintaining the quality of indoor air. It involves the exchange of indoor air with outdoor air, which helps to remove pollutants and prevent the buildup of harmful gases. Ventilation is also important for controlling humidity levels, as excessive humidity can lead to mold growth and other problems.

Air Conditioning

The air conditioning component of an HVAC system is responsible for cooling the indoor space during the warmer months. Air conditioners work by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring it outside. There are a variety of air conditioning systems that can be used in an HVAC system, including central air conditioning, ductless mini-split systems, and window units.

Overall, HVAC systems are designed to provide comfort and improve indoor air quality. They are complex systems that require proper design, installation, and maintenance in order to function effectively. If you are interested in installing an HVAC system in your home or building, it is important to consult with a professional to ensure that the system is properly designed and installed.

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. It is a system that is responsible for heating and cooling your home, providing you with a comfortable living environment.

HVAC systems are essential to maintaining indoor air quality and thermal comfort in buildings, whether residential or commercial.

Heating refers to the process of warming the indoor air to provide a comfortable temperature during cold weather. HVAC systems typically use furnaces, heat pumps, or boilers to accomplish this task.

Ventilation involves the exchange of indoor and outdoor air to maintain adequate indoor air quality. Proper ventilation helps remove airborne contaminants, control humidity, and improve overall air circulation.

Air conditioning is the process of cooling indoor air during hot weather. HVAC systems typically use air conditioners, heat pumps, or chillers to provide cool air throughout the building.

HVAC systems also include ductwork, which is the network of pipes that distribute air throughout the building. Properly designed and installed ductwork is essential to ensure proper airflow and temperature control.

Another essential component of HVAC systems is the thermostat, which is the device that controls the temperature of the indoor environment.

HVAC systems can be installed in various configurations, including centralized systems that serve an entire building or individual systems that service each room or area.

Proper installation and maintenance of HVAC systems are essential to ensuring optimal performance, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality.

HVAC systems can also incorporate additional features, such as air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers, to further enhance indoor air quality and comfort.

Choosing the right HVAC system for your home or business requires careful consideration of factors such as the size and layout of the building, climate conditions, and energy efficiency requirements.

Energy efficiency is a critical consideration when selecting an HVAC system, as it can significantly impact energy consumption and operating costs.

Regular maintenance and upkeep of HVAC systems are essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity. This includes regular inspections, cleaning, and filter replacements.

HVAC systems are subject to various safety regulations and standards to ensure proper installation, operation, and maintenance.

The HVAC industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and innovations emerging to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and comfort.

Advancements in HVAC technology have led to the development of more efficient and eco-friendly systems, such as geothermal and solar-powered HVAC systems.

The HVAC industry is also experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, which has led to increased demand for HVAC training and certification programs.

Proper training and certification are essential for HVAC professionals to ensure the safe and effective installation, operation, and maintenance of HVAC systems.

HVAC systems play a crucial role in providing a comfortable and healthy indoor environment, and their importance is only expected to grow in the future.

As we continue to prioritize indoor air quality and energy efficiency, the HVAC industry will continue to evolve and innovate to meet these demands.

HVAC Meaning: What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It refers to the technology and systems used in buildings to control temperature, humidity, and air quality. HVAC systems are designed to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality, while also ensuring energy efficiency.

Heating systems provide warmth during cold weather, while air conditioning systems provide cool air during hot weather. Ventilation systems help to circulate air and maintain indoor air quality by removing pollutants, allergens, and moisture.

HVAC systems can range from simple units for residential use to complex systems for large commercial buildings. Proper maintenance and regular inspections are essential to ensure the safety, efficiency, and longevity of HVAC systems.

Overall, HVAC plays a critical role in ensuring comfortable and healthy indoor environments, and its importance is increasingly recognized as buildings become more energy-efficient and sustainable.

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