Heating & Cooling Systems

heating-and-cooling_01The HVAC industry is a worldwide enterprise, with career opportunities including operation and maintenance, system design and construction, equipment manufacturing and sales, and in education and research. The HVAC industry had been historically regulated by the manufacturers of HVAC equipment, but Regulating and Standards organizations such as ASHRAE, SMACNA, ACCA, Uniform Mechanical Code, International Mechanical Code, and AMCA have been established to support the industry and encourage high standards and achievement. Heating and cooling are 2 of the most important concepts of home ownership. In fact, heating & cooling systems are major factors for those looking to purchase homes, and are a critical part of living comfortably in a home.

You may frequently hear the term “HVAC,” which is used to describe home heating and cooling systems. The acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning–which are the 3 primary functions of a home system. They control air temperature and humidity, and maintain the quality of the air in the home. At A Custom Heating and Air Conditioning we believe the heating system that is in your Chicago home is much more than a heating system…it is your environment. We install and maintain many types of heating systems for all of your residential needs. There are many ways to heat your home. This page will cover a few of the most common types of heating units available.

Gas Burning Furnaces

hvac_01HVAC Systems

Gas or fuel burning furnaces all work on the same basic principle. The fuel is burned inside an enclosed metal container (generally referred to as a fire-box or heat exchanger). The exhaust gases (including carbon monoxide) are vented to the exterior of the building. The burning of the fuel warms the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger, now hot, radiates the heat into the air in the living area. This heated air is circulated by gravity or pumped through the living area with a fan.

Gravity Furnaces

These will usually be found in older Chicago homes. They include floor and wall furnaces and some ducted furnaces that are generally in a basement. The term gravity referrers to the fact that the furnace has no blower to move the heated air around the room. They rely on the fact that heated (less dense) air rises and the cooler (more dense) air falls to circulate the heat. This is not a very efficient way to heat a house and generally will be used as a room heater.

Electric Furnaces

Not the best way to heat your Chicago home. Expensive to operate. They can make your electric meter spin like a top. They work like those old bathroom electric coil heaters except that they are enclosed in a box with a blower forcing the cold air across them heating the air for the living area.

Radiant Heat heating and cooling system

Radiant heating does not de-humidify the air, so in winter, room humidity is more ideal. Unlike forced hot air, radiant heat will not dry out breathing passages or furniture. With no fans or blowers, radiant is dust-free, so it’s also cleaner. Virus particles, bacteria and pet dander fall to the floor instead of circulating constantly in the air, so your family will stay healthier in winter. Because radiant heating warms the occupants rather than the room, people find they are comfortable at temperature settings several degrees lower than with conventional heating systems. Lower temperature settings mean lower fuel costs. You can learn more about floor warming and floor heating in our article center.


Space heating energy costs account for roughly 25-30 percent of the total energy costs for a typical commercial building in the Chicago area. High-efficiency boilers can reduce heating costs by 10 percent and in many cases by as much as 20 to 30 percent. In fact, a boiler replacement that reduces gas consumption by 20 percent could save about five to 10 cents per square foot annually. Boilers are available in two efficiency ranges: around 80 percent for standard conventional boilers, and percentages in the 90s for energy-efficient condensing units. The dividing line between these efficiency ranges is based on the boilers ability to withstand condensing flue gases. Condensing flue gases, which occur in high-efficiency boilers, require special design considerations to tolerate the corrosive effects of the condensate. Boiler efficiency is defined as how much of the heating value of the fuel is being converted to useful heat.

Air Conditioning System

Condensing boilers absorb more heat from combustion gases, allowing the water vapor to condense and therefore providing increased efficiency. Any hydrocarbon fuel burned in a boiler, whether it is propane, natural gas, or fuel oil, produces water vapor during the combustion process. Conventional boilers are non-condensing boilers with materials that cannot tolerate the corrosive properties of condensing flue or stack gases. Conventional boilers operate around 80 percent efficiency, compared to over 90 percent efficiency for condensing efficient boilers. Other factors also influence boiler efficiency, including boiler shell losses, piping losses, and cycling losses.

Fire Tube and Water Tube

Boilers use water to absorb heat from a burned fuel/air mixture. Boilers can produce steam or hot water. The two most common types of boilers are fire tube and water tube. Fire tube boilers typically consist of a series of straight tubes that are housed inside a water-filled outer shell. As hot gas flows through the tubes it heats the water that surrounds the tubes. Water tube boilers are designed to circulate hot combustion gases around the outside of a large number of water-filled tubes. Newer boilers have tubes with complex and diverse bends and fins to maximize the heat transfer area. Because the water/steam pressure is confined inside the tubes, water tube boilers can be fabricated in larger capacities than fire tube boilers and are often preferred for higher-pressure steam applications. We at 123 Remodeling are all about air–cool air, warm air, clean air. As a Chicago leader in air conditioning systems, services and solutions, we control the comfort of the air for people in homes and many suburbs as well.

Heating and cooling systems may be classified as central or local. Central heating and cooling is the most standard method, and is defined by a system that produces warm or cool air in one central area and then distributes it throughout the home. There are many types of systems that work as central systems, from traditional split systems to packaged product systems.

Products typically used in central heating and cooling systems include:

  • Heat Pumps
  • Air Conditioners
  • Gas & Oil Furnaces
  • Fan Coil
  • Evaporator Coils
  • Single Packaged Products
  • Controls & Thermostats

Complete home comfort is about more than just temperature, it’s also about maintaining a healthy home with indoor air quality. Dusty, dirty homes at any temperature can mean discomfort. The air in today’s tightly-sealed, well-insulated homes can become stale as the same indoor air is circulated and re-circulated. In fact, indoor air quality is among the Environmental Protection Agency’s top 3 health concerns. The agency reports that with dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, skin flakes, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, Radon gas and more, the air inside your home can be 2-5 times dirtier than the air outside.

HVAC Systems

Although we usually can’t see them, air pollutants are all around us, already inside our homes, and waiting to come in from outside. From our yards to our kitchens, dangerous air pollutants threaten our home health and air quality. Plus, each season brings its own dangers, from mold in the fall and winter to pollens and high humidity in the spring and summer.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions

A clean home includes having clean air. Pollen, animal dander, smoke, bacteria and other pollutants naked to the human eye exist in our homes. We have solutions to clean your home air with state of the art air cleaners, purifiers and media filters. During different seasons and within certain climates, air can become dry and affect the quality of life in your home. If you experience static electricity, dry skin, or respiratory ailments caused by dry air, you may need a humidifier. In a central HVAC system, air can circulate within a home and become stale over time, potentially increasing the levels of viruses, bacteria, pollen, smoke, and odors. Many times, bringing in fresh air through windows or doors can negatively affecting heating and cooling costs and is not an option. Fortunately, 123 Remodeling can install an energy recovery ventilation system to bring in fresh air while dramatically reducing heating and cooling costs. Heating and cooling systems provide maximum comfort for home owners by regulating temperature and humidity. Unfortunately, this also can cause a warm, damp climate within your evaporator coil that is ripe for mold growth. We can solve this problem for you by installing UV lamps in the evaporator coil will zap any trace of mold in your HVAC system and leave you with a healthy home.

Residential Insulation

Managing your indoor air quality HVAC system can be a complex task. 123 Remodeling solves this with state of the art control systems which regulates temperature, humidity, and air quality.