What is an HVAC and What Does HVAC Stand For?

hvac system types

Many people throw the term “HVAC” around like everyone knows what they’re talking about, Few people want to admit that they may not be as knowledgeable about what the term means and why it is so often associated with heating and air conditioning companies. So, we will ask it for you.

Check out our amazing financing options for both Trane and Luxaire HVAC systems.

What Does HVAC Stand For?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. That explains everything, right?

Not necessarily. Knowing what HVAC stands for does not necessarily explain what it is, what it does and how it keeps us comfortable indoors.

hvac system basics

Diagram of an HVAC system

HVAC Basics

While heating, ventilation, and cooling are all lumped together in one acronym, these three functions are interrelated but rely on different equipment and principles to keep you toasty in the winter and cool in the summer.

  1. FurnaceThe furnace takes up the most space in an HVAC system and uses the most energy. Usually hidden in a space that no one uses, the furnace is responsible for moving air from the heat exchanger through the air ducts and into the rooms of a building or home. Using a heat exchanger to add heat to the air that is being pushed from the combustion chamber, furnaces create heat in a far away closet or room of a building then force warm air through a series of ducts. However, forced air furnaces are not the only type of heating available to a home. (More on that later.)
  2. Air Conditioner – Interestingly enough, an air conditioner and furnace work on the same principles. Air passes over refrigerant filled tubes and forced through ductwork into the rooms of a building. Again, while air conditioning is commonly associated with cooling a building, home, or even vehicle, it is not the only method that works. Evaporative coolers (also known as swamp coolers), heat pumps and attic fans can also effectively cool a home without air conditioning.
  3. Duct Work & Vents – Remember, the V in HVAC stands for ventilation. The ductwork in a building is responsible for moving air from the heating or cooling appliance throughout the home. It is not enough for air to travel one way. It must also travel back to the heating and cooling appliances for them to function properly. Vents accomplish this via rectangular covers that direct airflow back to the heating and cooling appliances.

HVAC System Types

Ultra Air Luxaire Unit

An example of a Luxaire HVAC unit

While forced air systems are the most efficient at heating and cooling a home, they are not the only type of HVAC system on the market. Gravity systems rely on gravity to heat a home, but are inefficient in cooling it and cannot be used with an air conditioner. When switched on, gravity systems force warmed air through the ceilings of a basement level to warm the home. When turned off, the cool air sinks and is reheated. Radiant systems also cannot be used with most air conditioning systems, but use heated water rather than heated air to warm a home through radiators or other heat transfer devices. Forced air systems, particularly Trane and Luxaire HVAC systems efficiently warm and cool a home with a furnace and air conditioner. To find out more, contact Farnen and Dermer for your free replacement consultation.

Featured Image