HVAC Equipment List: Parts of an HVAC System

HVAC, which stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, is a term used to describe the system in a building that provides indoor comfort by controlling the temperature, humidity, and air quality. HVAC systems are widely used in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, and they come in many forms, including central HVAC, split systems, and portable units.

The basic components of an HVAC system include the furnace, air handler, and outdoor unit. The furnace is the central heating component, and it uses either gas or oil to generate heat. The air handler is responsible for distributing the air from the furnace to the different parts of the building, and it is usually located near the furnace or in the attic. The outdoor unit is responsible for cooling the air and is usually located outside of the building, near the side or rooftop.

The function of an HVAC system is to control the temperature, humidity, and air quality inside a building. In order to do this, HVAC systems use different components to heat, cool, and circulate air. For example, a central HVAC system uses ductwork to distribute air throughout the building, while a split system uses an outdoor unit to cool the air and an indoor unit to circulate it.

When it comes to HVAC systems, air conditioners are one of the most important components. An air conditioner works by removing heat and moisture from the air inside a building, and it uses a refrigerant to cool the air. The refrigerant is compressed in the outdoor unit, and it is then cooled in the indoor unit. The cooled refrigerant is then returned to the outdoor unit to be compressed again.

HVAC systems also use other components to control the temperature, humidity, and air quality, such as evaporator coils, condenser coils, and heat exchangers. The evaporator coils are responsible for removing heat and moisture from the air, while the condenser coils cool the refrigerant. Heat exchangers are used to transfer heat from one fluid to another, and they are essential to the operation of HVAC systems.

For HVAC system owners, it is important to understand the anatomy of the system, its different parts and functions, and how they work together. HVAC systems are complex, and understanding how they work can help the owner to maintain, repair, and replace the different components if necessary. There are many resources available for HVAC system owners, including articles, diagrams, pictures, and online resources that provide basic information about the different components of an HVAC system.

HVAC System Parts

Knowing the key components of your HVAC system can aid in proper maintenance, making it easier to detect and resolve issues, thus avoiding costly breakdowns and ensuring maximum efficiency. The most critical parts are the heat exchanger, blower motor, combustion chamber, condenser, evaporator, and thermostat.

Heat Exchanger

The Heat Exchanger, part of the furnace housing, heats cool air using heat from combustion. Made from temperature-resistant stainless steel to prevent damage, some models have a duct for quicker heating. Issues with the heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide leaks, which can be lethal. Detectors should be installed, and the system inspected annually by a professional.

Blower Motor

Once air in the heat exchanger reaches a set temperature, the blower motor powers a fan that distributes the warm air throughout the house. A variable speed blower motor saves energy and reduces humidity levels.

Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber, also known as the burner, adds air to fuel for proper combustion. For a gas furnace, the heating cycle starts with a small air and gas mixture entering the chamber, then igniting via a glow stick or pilot light. High-efficiency gas furnaces have a second chamber to capture and re-ignite carbon monoxide and unburned fuel.

Condenser Coil or Compressor

Part of the air conditioner or heat pump, it releases heat into the outdoor air to cool the home. Keep the area around it clear of debris, rinse it off annually, and provide shade and air space for best performance.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil, inside the indoor air handler, cools the home by evaporating refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. The HVAC system circulates warm air over it, distributing the cool air throughout the house, then returns the refrigerant back to the condenser. The condensation lowers humidity levels.


What is the purpose of the heat exchanger in HVAC?

The heat exchanger in HVAC systems is used to transfer heat from one fluid (usually air or water) to another. In heating systems, it absorbs heat from the combustion process and transfers it to the air or water that circulates through the system to be distributed to the building. In air conditioning systems, it absorbs heat from the indoor air and transfers it to the refrigerant, which then carries the heat outside to be released. The heat exchanger helps to regulate the temperature inside the building by exchanging heat from one fluid to another, making it an essential component of HVAC systems.

What is the purpose of the Blower Motor in HVAC?

The blower motor in HVAC is responsible for circulating air through the system. It moves air from the return air ducts to the supply air ducts and pushes it through the filters, evaporator coil, and heat exchanger. The blower motor helps distribute conditioned air throughout the home or building, ensuring a comfortable indoor temperature.

What is the purpose of the combustion chamber in HVAC?

The combustion chamber in an HVAC system is a space where fuel is burned to produce heat. This heat is then used to warm the air that is circulated through the ducts and into the rooms of a building. The combustion chamber is typically found in heating systems that use a furnace, and its purpose is to provide heat to the home or building. The combustion process takes place in a controlled environment, with proper ventilation, to ensure the safe and efficient transfer of heat from the fuel source to the air that is circulated.

What is the purpose of the condenser coil or compressor in HVAC?

The purpose of the condenser coil (also known as the compressor) is to remove heat from the refrigerant that has been absorbed by the evaporator coil. The condenser coil releases the absorbed heat to the outside environment, which cools the refrigerant and prepares it to return to the evaporator to start the cycle again. In this way, the condenser and compressor play a crucial role in the refrigeration cycle and ensure the efficient operation of an air conditioning system.

What is the purpose of the evaporator coils in HVAC?

The purpose of the evaporator coils in an HVAC system is to absorb heat from the air inside a building and transfer it to the refrigerant, which is then carried outside by the condenser coils to be released. The evaporator coils play a crucial role in the cooling process of the air conditioning unit, making it possible for the unit to provide cool and comfortable air inside a building. These coils are part of the indoor components of the HVAC system and are typically located inside the air handler unit or near the furnace.

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