Aspects of an HVAC System

Our HVAC company, Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. is often asked by our customers what an HVAC system entails. First, HVAC stands or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. These components keep our customers’ homes comfortable in all seasons and in all weather, and our professionals install, repair and maintain them. Here are more details about the HVAC system and what it encompasses.


There are five main types of heating systems. One uses forced air. The air originates in a furnace and is blown through supply ducts and up and out of registers. When the air cools, it falls into return air registers and goes back to the furnace to be heated again. Hot water and steam systems use a boiler to send hot water or steam through supply lines and into radiators. A radiant system uses electrical cables or tubes filled with hot water installed beneath the floor or even in the walls or ceiling. Heat pumps can be used for both heating and cooling. Most people in the United States still use furnaces, boilers or heat pumps.

Furnaces and boilers can be powered by:

  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Propane
  • Electricity
  • Solar power

Heat pumps, which resemble and work like central air conditioning units, take heat either from the air, the ground or a body of water. Space heaters are often powered by electricity, while others are powered by gas or electricity. Gas heaters need to be vented either to the outside or somewhere else in the building.


Air conditioners work because heat is removed from air blown into a room or through ductwork while excess hot air is vented outside. Air conditioning units can be small enough to fit in windows or large, outdoor versions that cool the entire house. These units need a furnace to work properly. Ductless air conditioners are becoming more and more popular. They bring cool air into the rooms of the house through ducts that use a single evaporator. Heat pumps also deliver cool air when a valve is reversed.


Ventilating a house can be as simple as opening doors and windows, but when this is not practical – such as in a basement – an HVAC system may be used. Other systems that ventilate the air include humidifiers, dehumidifiers, vents, ceiling fans, and whole house fans.

To get your HVAC system set up or inspected, give us in Downers Grove a call today.