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Understanding Proper Ventilation of an HVAC System

HVAC system ventilation
Your heating and air (HVAC) system is one of the most important aspects of your home. It’s what keeps you cool in the hottest months and warm in the coldest months. However, it’s also one of the most complex systems in your home, and most people don’t understand how it works. The problem with that is that your HVAC system is essentially the primary determiner of the air quality in your home. With a poorly installed, poorly maintained HVAC system, you may be breathing in dirty or even dangerous air. That’s why it’s so important that you understand how your system works and how you can take care of it. To be able to take better care of your HVAC system and why you should maintain on it a regular basis, it’s important to know a little bit more about how it works. As an industry leader in Hilton HVAC, we’re going to take a look at understanding proper ventilation of an HVAC system.


The heating element of your HVAC system is what keeps you toasty warm during those cold winter months. There are different types of heating components that people use, but one of the most popular at the moment is forced air system. However, many systems also use radiant and geothermal heating systems, among others. The common denominator between all of these systems is that heat is created at a central source and then distributed throughout the home via different methods.

Forced Air

In a forced air heating system, heat transfer relies on ductwork, plenum, and vents to distribute air throughout a home. These are all separate from the from the heating and cooling elements. However, like other types of central heating systems, a thermostat is used to control the temperature. In all systems, there’s an air filter, blower, heat exchanger/element/coil, and different controls. While this is the most popular style of system in North America, Europeans don’t use it nearly as often.

Radiant Heating Systems

People use radiant heating systems to heat both indoor and outdoor areas. In more common types of central heating, the system circulates warm air through a space to get the entire space to the desired temperature. With a radiant heating system, heat is delivered through a building’s floor or walls.

Geothermal Heating

As the temperature around the world varies, the temperatures that you experience throughout the year change. However, the temperature below the ground always remains the same, no matter where you are in the world. Geothermal heating systems extract heat from the ground to warm up the house.


One of the things about HVAC systems that many people don’t think about on a daily basis is that this system is often what determines the air quality in your home. Your ventilation system:

  • Circulates and purifies air: A good system will continually provide an ongoing supply of good, clean air for your indoor environment. This helps to remove harmful particles from the air and keep your home smelling good.
  • Controls moisture levels: Moisture in the air is a common occurrence from everyday activities like bathing, cooking, or cleaning. However, too much moisture in the air inside of a home can lead to problems with mold, mildew, and damage to the floors, walls, and structure of the home. In more extreme cases, excess amounts of mold can lead to severe health problems.
  • Increases comfort: Your home is meant to be a comfortable place for you and your family.

How your HVAC system accomplishes these things depends a lot on the age of your system. It may be done mechanically, naturally (using windows and fans), or using a combination of the two.

In a forced air system, the system passes the air in your home through a set of filters that help to keep airborne particulates, volatile organic compounds, and allergens from spreading throughout your home. When homeowners use other systems, they usually need to add in their own air cleaners, humidifiers, purifiers, and dehumidifiers.

Understanding Air Conditioning Flow

Aside from heating, your HVAC system is also responsible for your cooling. Although there are several types of air conditioning units (central air-used in conjunction with forced air systems, split or ductless systems, window units, portable units), they all function in fairly similar ways.

As your AC system collects and expels warm air from your home, it’s constantly circulating refrigerant that changes from gas to liquid. Your system then passes warm vapor refrigerant through to the compressor to turn it into hot vapor to be moved to the condenser. In the condenser, the hot liquid is cooled, where it then is passed through the evaporator coil. Once the mist evaporates, it then absorbs heat from the air inside of your home and returns it to the compressor. Thus, the process starts all over again.

The fact that the air inside of your home is constantly used and recycled through the heating and air conditioning processes makes it even more important for you to clean and maintain your unit so that you always have fresh air circulating throughout your home.


Although your HVAC system is one of the most important systems in your entire homes, it’s also complicated. That’s what makes it one of the least understood systems in the home as well. However, even a basic understanding of the systems at play go a long way in helping you to understand basic home maintenance that you should be doing with your system to keep it clean and running well. If you ever need help with your home HVAC system maintenance, we put together an excellent guide with the most important cleaning and maintenance tips that you can do at home. For more advanced HVAC questions and maintenance, feel free to give us a call today! Our highly qualified and experienced technicians would be more than happy to hear from you and help you through any problems that you may be having.
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