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What You Should Know About Your HVAC: Ventilation Terms

ventilation termsYour HVAC system has several components that work together to provide heating, ventilation and air conditioning — which is what HVAC stands for. You probably know a bit about heating and air conditioning, but what about ventilation? Learning some ventilation terms can be useful.

What Does a Ventilation System Comprise?

For most households, the ventilation system involves the following:

  • Ductwork — Your ducts may be located in the attic, basement, or in a chase or other concealing structure. They carry the conditioned air to the vents in each room, where it is distributed.
  • Supply vents — The supply vents may be located in the walls, floor or ceiling. You can tell they are supply vents, because you can feel the warm or cold air coming out.
  • Return vents — There may be one return vent (usually in a hallway) for the entire house, or return vents in each room (usually in the ceiling), but their function is to draw in air from the house and send it into the HVAC system where it is conditioned before being distributed.
  • Register —  Heat registers cover vents, or holes where the duct enters a room. Registers include a damper to control air flow.
  • Louvers — Also called dampers, louvers may be attached to the back of a heat register. They can adjust the air flow by opening or closing.
  • Grilles — Grilles are the covers over air return vents, and don’t have dampers.

Other Types of Ventilation

Some homeowners find a need for additional ventilation in the home, whether to remove stale air, to bring in fresh air, or both. The most common systems are these:

  • Exhaust ventilation — Sends air to the outdoors, such as a bathroom exhaust ventilation system.
  • Supply ventilation — Brings fresh air in by pressurizing the house (recommended for warmer climates).
  • Balanced ventilation — If designed and installed properly, these systems bring in and exhaust equal measures of air through two fans and two duct systems.
  • Energy recovery systems — Complex systems that try to recover energy from exhausted air. These aren’t commonly installed in residences.

For more on ventilation terms, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company of Yuma.