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Installing Your HVAC System: An Interview with Monica Cardenas of The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

By Monica Cardenas

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is the trade association representing manufacturers of HVACR and water heating equipment within the global industry. AHRI's 315 member companies manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative residential and commercial air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale in North America and around the world, and account for more than 90 percent of HVACR and water heating residential and commercial equipment manufactured and sold in North America (more than 70 percent of the equipment sold worldwide).

AHRI advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of government, working to ensure that members' interests are considered in both regulations and legislation. We also have a certification program that is relied heavily upon by regulators for accurate and unbiased evaluation of heating, water heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration equipment. Lastly, AHRI develops industry-recognized performance standards for industry equipment. These three tiers are at AHRI's core: Standards, certification, advocacy.

Aside from these three tiers, AHRI is viewed as a resource for industry shipment data, education and workforce information, and research. AHRI is an industry powerhouse, providing our members with one industry voice, both domestically and abroad.

What components make up an HVAC system?

The components in a home system can vary depending on the product. Typically there will be a fan or blower to move the air; a compressor to cool the air; a condenser coil that releases or collects heat, depending on the time of year; ductwork, through which the air travels throughout the home; and a thermostat. There are many other components available that vary how a system works, or improve the comfort and air quality, such as a humidifier, air filtration system, or zone control dampers. Ductless systems also are available for homes without ductwork.

With respect to heat, a gas or oil furnace could be paired with the air handler to move air through ductwork to heat the home. A heat pump also could be used, as could a gas or oil-fired boiler to heat water that would provide heat either through baseboard heaters or through under-floor piping (also known as radiant heat). Vent-free gas heaters can be used in individual living areas to provide supplemental heat. More information is available on our website: www.ahrinet.org

What are the benefits of installing an HVAC system into one's home?

HVAC and water heating systems improve quality of life by providing clean, fresh air in a home, while cooling or heating the space based on the occupants' preferences. Studies have shown that heating and cooling systems are important to health and safety. Heating and air conditioning helps people through frigid winters and sweltering summers, while hot water provides a means for bathing as well as for clean, sanitary dishes and clothing.

What are some ways homeowners can prepare for this process?

Installing a heating and air conditioning system or water heating system requires an expert. AHRI recommends using a NATE-certified technician (www.natex.org) to ensure a qualified technician performs a proper installation. HVACR contractors work with different manufacturers, so system options may vary based on the contractor. You can view system options on our website here http://ahrinet.org/site/576/Homeowners/Indoor-Comfort-Systems and here http://ahrinet.org/site/599/Contractors-Specifiers/HVACR-Equipment/Components

What are the steps for installing an HVAC System?

AHRI recommends homeowners leave the installation to professional. Check www.natex.org.

Do you recommend a homeowner attempting to install the system themselves?

Homeowners should not attempt to install systems independently. Compliance with safety and health regulations is required, and system performance will depend on proper installation.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Visit www.ahrinet.org, or contact me at fdietz@ahrinet.org.

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About The Author

Monica Cardenas is Director of Communications at The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and...

Phone: 703-524-8800

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