24/7 Same-Day Emergency Service(360) 892-8280

HVAC Basics


Learning the essential functions and components of an HVAC system is a smart way to better understand this important system in your residential or commercial building. The initials HVAC stand for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, which are the main functions of an HVAC system.

A properly functioning system is able to control the environment in which it works, meaning it can control the temperature of a room through heating and cooling. It also can control the humidity level, distribution of air, and ensures the cleanliness of the air.

Learn HVAC Basics from Vanport Mechanical in Vancouver WA and Clark County WAThe Different Components of an HVAC System

Understanding the main parts within your HVAC system can help you pinpoint any issues that you may be experiencing. The most important components to know include the following:

  • Thermostat: This is the part of your system you will interact with most often, as it is typically installed on easily accessed walls inside your home or business to enable you to control the temperature and other system settings.
  • Furnace or Air Handler: The biggest section of your system, this is designed to heat air that is distributed throughout your property via ductwork. This is also the main fan for the whole home or building and is running whenever your heating or cooling is, and you can set the fan to run and circulate the air continuously to provide constant filtration.
  • Evaporator coil: This is used to cool down the air by absorbing and removing the heat when you set your thermostat to a lower temperature.
  • Condensing unit: Located on the outside of your home, the condensing unit is filled with refrigerant. When the refrigerant is cooled, the unit pumps the liquid refrigerant to the evaporator coil to be absorb heat from the home’s return air and be transformed into gas once more.
  • Vents: These distribute the heated or cooled air from the duct system into the rooms of your home. Some are definitely more efficient that others!
  • Refrigerant lines: These carry refrigerant back and forth from the evaporator coil to the condensing unit.

Basic Types of HVAC Systems

There are a variety of HVAC systems that are suitable for different setups. Vanport Mechanical & Fire Sprinkler Inc. are your local industry experts who can help you better understand the different types and determine which setup will work for your circumstances.

The five main types of HVAC systems are:

  1. Gas furnace and air conditioner split systems
  2. Heat pump and electric furnace split systems
  3. Gas furnace and heat pump dual fuel (or hybrid) split systems
  4. Ductless mini-split heat pump
  5. Packaged heating and air conditioning system (gas or electric)

Knowing HVAC Industry Standards

The codes and standards required for new HVAC systems are updated constantly for safety reasons and to achieve maximum energy efficiency. When buying a new HVAC system, you’ll likely notice several energy efficient ratings on the units. Our professional technicians can help you pick out the right unit for you, but knowing these ratings may help influence your decision. Some common HVAC ratings and certifications include AHRI, AFUE, EER, SEER, HSPF, MERV Rating, and the NATE Certification. Because industry standards and regulations on HVAC systems are ever-changing, the team at Vanport wants to help our customers pick and install the right system that will meet or exceed every necessary guideline.

Let Vanport Mechanical & Fire Sprinkler Inc. Help You!

We know HVAC systems are complex, which is why our industry specialists are here to help you! Whether you’re interested in updating your system or curious if your existing unit meets the industry standards, we are committed to providing you with any information you need on HVAC systems. Contact us today to learn more!

<< Back to Residential HVAC Services

HVAC Basics in Vancouver WA

Serving The Greater Vancouver WA and Clark County WA Areas

Longview | Kelso | Kalama | Battle Ground | Hockinson | Washougal | Camas | Salmon Creek | La Center | Orchards | Mill Plain | Brush Prairie | Woodland | Ridgefield | Cascade Park | Hazel Dell | Felida | Yacolt