HVAC is an acronym that stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. While many products and systems can fall under the umbrella of HVAC, in general, anything relating to airflow and air quality within a space can apply to this term. In this article, we take a look at:
- The different HVAC systems that exist
- The signs to look for when choosing a quality HVAC system
- Which HVAC options are the most (and least) efficient
Let’s begin by developing a deeper understanding of what HVAC is, and why these systems are an important consideration in any building – either new, or existing. As we’ve mentioned, HVAC is a term that can cover any product that falls within the category of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. But why would we group these together? Put simply, all heating, ventilation and cooling systems relate to the flow and quality of air through your home or commercial space. Because all systems use and “treat” air, it helps to conceptualise the systems as a singular concept which, in turn, helps improve the quality of your home or business’ relationship to HVAC overall.
Why are HVAC systems important?
Victoria’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consistently reports that the central purpose of an HVAC system is to help maintain good indoor quality of air via the adequate use of ventilation systems that facilitate both filtration and thermal comfort. With good-quality HVAC systems installed in your building, it’s possible for you enjoy benefits such as:
- Improved air quality
- Less frequent presence of air contaminants and airborne viruses
- Better thermal retention
- Decreased likelihood of mould and other contaminants
- A more comfortable ambient environment
…and much more.
What different HVAC systems exist?
Let’s look at the three main types of systems implied by the HVAC acronym – namely, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Firstly, let this be known: heating and cooling are two of the main enemies of wise sustainable, clean and efficient consumption of energy in buildings – home and office included. During the summer, pumping your old-school air conditioner can use power at a truly alarming rate, while using various heating options in winter has the potential for exactly the same effect.
What’s more, if the wrong system (say, one that’s poorly suited to the building or that’s cheap, nasty and of low quality) is poorly installed, it often spells early replacement – and a resulting poor investment to boot. But when heating and cooling are two things that can’t be avoided throughout the harsh seasonal changes of the average Victorian home, it pays (literally) to spend time considering which options will be the right ones for you.
The most common heating options for a building include:
- Split-system and multi split-system reverse cycle air conditioners
- Hydronic systems (usually installed as a subfloor system)
- Ducted systems (usually installed as a subfloor system)
- Panel and free-standing electric heaters
The least efficient options from these tend to be your average panel and free-standing electric heaters. These are often the models that are small, with simple features, and available at low prices both online at at your local appliance store. We don’t wish to generalise too much, however. Some panel heaters, such as those by Rinnai, Dyson and Nobo are surprisingly efficient – particularly for very small spaces such as studio apartments and bathrooms.
However, if you’re looking to heat a larger space or perhaps install a system that also offers the capacity for cooling, there are other options on the table for you. Split-system air conditioners can be a great choice for heating/cooling single rooms, small spaces, or apartments where space is at a premium. What’s more, they can often save up to 30% of heating costs as compared with more conventional heaters – and even more if you’re running the system off energy generated by solar panels.
Multi-split systems operate in the same way, but allow you to install multiple units on interior walls, operating off a single exterior unit – a great options for heating (and cooling) multiple rooms. Ducted systems are fantastic also. Much like hydronic heating and cooling (more on that in a moment), they can – unlike split-systems – facilitate zone heating/cooling meaning you have the capability to heal/cool different spaces of your home in different ways (and concurrently, at that).
By far the most energy-efficient systems for heating, however, are hydronic HVAC systems, most commonly installed under the floor of new buildings. The cost- and energy-efficiency of a new hydronic system is often attributed to its overall quality of design given it uses a series of insulated pipes which helps control thermal retention – that is, no air is lost to leakage. What’s more, hydronic HVAC systems utilise a design that is completely sealed; this, too, minimises heat loss.
Good-quality split-systems, multi-split systems, hydronic and ducted systems all contain some degree of air filtration capability. However, the most widely lauded HVAC systems for air filtration will always come with HEPA filters, recommended by the US Department of Health (and other health organisations the world over) because they have the capacity to remove at least 99.97% of airborne allergens and air pollutants including tiny mould spores and dust particles.
In a ducted system, for example, a high-quality design will include a HEPA filter places on the return air grill of the system. This helps with keeping particles, contaminants and other pollutants from recirculating. When deciding which HVAC system is right for you, don’t forget to ask your qualified installed (such as G Store’s award-winning team) about the air filtration potential of the various options you have available to you.
Air conditioning options
While we’ve already covered off many of the air conditioning options available within the current contemporary market, this article in our Learning Centre can help you learn more about the air conditioners that are best-suited to your needs.
Which HVAC system is the most efficient?
Note, overall, that the efficiency of any HVAC product is – generally – only ever as good as the quality of the energy supplying it. So it is that the better quality your energy supply (think solar, heat pumps, and more), the better quality your HVAC system will be – both in terms of your health, and your finances/back pocket to boot.
When it comes to installing an HVAC system(s) in your home or office, there are many options available to you. The best-fit option for your needs, however, will depend on many factors – such as the type of building and space you need to heat, ventilate and/or cool, as well as your budget and the quality of solution you’re able to install.
With summer coming on strong, now is not the time to delay. Speak with your award-winning G Store team today on 1300 766 940 or consult the wide range of articles within our Learning Centre to help you decide what’s best for you.