5 HVAC Sensors You Need to Know About

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

Your HVAC system relies on sensors. If the sensors are broken or inaccurate, your HVAC won’t work the way it should. To better prepare yourself for issues with your HVAC, you should learn more about those sensors.

The Thermostat

When people think of sensors, they usually imagine something hi-tech. But there’s one sensor that’s been used for decades in heating and cooling systems – the thermostat. In approximately 1620, someone used a thermostat to regulate temperature. It doesn’t compare much to the sensor used today, but it was a huge advancement.

In the 1830s, textile mills began to use thermostats. The thermostat was a strip of metals that expanded at various rates according to the temperature. As the expansion occurred, the thermostat would bend and trigger a mechanical reaction.

If you look in any modern-day HVAC system, you’ll see a more advanced thermostat. The device uses a digital or semiconductor device. Typically, thermistors and resistance temperature detectors are part of the sensor. A thermistor is made of a polymer or ceramic, and an RTD is 100% metal.

Going Beyond Temperature Control

In this day and age, the thermostat is about as simple as it gets. Technology has now allowed for sensors that may not be essential but are highly useful.

However, it’s still important to value the thermostat. This is the sensor that makes it all work. If the thermostat is broken, your HVAC won’t turn on. And if your thermostat is inaccurate, your home will never be at the right temperature.

Pressure Sensors

If you look closely at your compressor, boiler, or cooler, you may see pressure sensors. These sensors look for drops in the air pressure – an issue that could be caused by a faulty part.

The pressure sensor makes it easier to identify issues with the HVAC system. It also makes it possible to optimize your air flow. In that way, pressure sensors can actually affect your indoor air quality.

If you had to rank sensors by importance, pressure sensors would be high on the list. They’re an important part of any HVAC system.

Duct Smoke Detectors

Your HVAC system produces a variety of gasses, smoke, and flames. If you want to make sure there are no toxic gases or fires in your system and traveling into your home, you may want a duct smoke detector.

In commercial applications, this sensor is highly common. These detectors prevent smoke from moving throughout a building. Depending on your location and building, you may have to install mandatory duct smoke detectors.

If you’re not sure about the requirements for duct smoke detectors or you want them installed, speak with an HVAC technician. Someone who offers HVAC services can provide you with guidance and handle a sensor installation.

Occupancy Sensors

When you run your HVAC system in an empty home, you waste energy. But people don’t always remember to turn off their air conditioner before they go shopping. Programmable thermostats only help so much because you can’t stick to the same schedule every week.

In a business setting, occupancy sensors are even more useful. The sensors can prevent you from wasting money as you heat or cool an empty space. The sensor notices when there is someone in a room and kicks on the system.

Types of Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors come in two forms. There’s a PIR sensor and an ultrasonic sensor. With a PIR sensor, the sensor measures motion and heat using infrared technology.

These sensors use line of sight, so they need to be aimed towards people. When you position these sensors, you need to be strategic. For more sensitive and responsive results, you can use ultrasonic sensors. These sensors use a high frequency sound wave to trigger changes. If an object bounces back the sound, the system turns in.

Ultrasonic waves have the ability to pass through wood and other objects, which allows them to target small movements. For this reason, ultrasonic sensors are very sensitive.

Indoor Air Quality Sensors

For years, research has shown us that indoor air quality is related to our health. When you live in situations with poor air quality, you put your health on the line. One of the easiest ways to monitor your air quality is to use indoor air quality sensors.

These sensors come in a variety of forms. A carbon sensor measures the levels of carbon in the air. When levels of carbon are high, the circulation in the system is poor. There’s an issue with your HVAC, and there may be contaminants in your air.

The sensors either use an infrared light or chemicals to measure the levels of CO2. The sensors use either infrared light or a chemical process to measure levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Although it’s similar in functionality, a VOC sensor uses photoionization to measure combustible or toxic gases.

Other Air Quality Sensors

If you care about the quality of your air, you should speak with your HVAC technician about your options for sensors. There are other air quality sensors available, and they can all help you breathe easier.

Should You Get Sensors in Your HVAC System?

If you get a new HVAC system, it already has multiple sensors. But older systems may not have many sensors. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the discomfort or insecurity of not having enough sensors.

An HVAC system that was installed eight or nine years ago could still have life in it. In fact, you may be able to extend the life of the system by installing some sensors. You can consult with your HVAC technician to determine how you can optimize your current system.
Talk to Our HVAC Service in Weatherford, TX

If you want advice on ways to improve your HVAC system, give us a call at Daffan Heating and Cooling. Our HVAC service in Weatherford, TX is here to help you. We can advise you on how to improve your system, tell you about your current sensors, and make sure your sensors are working the way they should. Trust us with all your HVAC needs.

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