In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about HVAC systems.
First, we’ll go over what is HVAC system and what does HVAC stand for.
Next, we’ll explain how does an HVAC system work.
And finally, we’ll tell you what the difference is between HVAC and AC since a lot of people have this type of question.
What is HVAC System?
An HVAC system provides heating and cooling to residential and commercial buildings. There are various types of HVAC systems but all include the same basic functions. components and design. The working principle is to exchange air within a space to make it more comfortable. HVAC systems cool and heat rooms to a set temperature.
HVAC systems also improve indoor air quality by removing moisture, smoke, odors, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases.
What Does HVAC Stand for?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The HVAC acronym is used to describe the various system types and components that are used in residential and commercial buildings. HVAC basics include regulating the indoor temperature and air quality for health and comfort.
Sometimes you may see the V in HVAC referred to as “ventilating” instead of “ventilation”. Both terms mean the same thing.
How Does HVAC Work?
You now know what is an HVAC system and what does HVAC stand for, so let’s look at how it works.
The heating, cooling, and ventilation aspects of an HVAC system all work together to ensure that clean air is pumped into your home and that you are as warm or cool as you desire.
HVAC systems are extensive and sophisticated; however, each one is designed around these nine parts:
1. Air Return
The air return is the beginning of the ventilation system.
It pulls air in from the inside of the building, pushes it through a filter, and then into the main system.
In most applications, the air return looks like a vented grate on the wall or ceiling.
Since this component is exposed to a lot of dust and debris, it’s beneficial if you clean it regularly.
Cleaning the air return will also extend the life of the filters on the inside of the system.
2. Air Filter
After the air has gone through the return, it’s then pushed through a filter where pollutants are trapped.
There are various types of air filter materials and each one is based on a MERV rating.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and this is a measurement scale for the effectiveness of air filters.
Make sure to change out this component on a regular basis to keep your HVAC system running optimally.
A dirty air filter can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system.
3. Exhaust Outlets
When the heating part of your HVAC system is running, it creates exhaust.
The exhaust outlets are in place to pump these harmful gases outside of your home.
It’s recommended that you check your vent stack or chimney flue yearly to look for problems and get them fixed as soon as possible if any are discovered.
A faulty exhaust outlet on your HVAC system could cause harmful gases to build up indoors, such as carbon monoxide.
The ducts (or ductwork) are the channels that lead around the house or building in which heated and cooled air is blown into each room.
Ducts should be cleaned every 2 to 5 years to remove any blockages and make sure that the system is in good working order.
The blower sucks in warm air and pushes it through the main section of the HVAC system.
A durable, well-working system has a blower that moves air efficiently, so it’s good to have it inspected each year by an HVAC technician.
6. Outdoor Unit
As the name implies, this is the part of your system that sits outside.
It’s the component that houses the fan that supplies the airflow.
To ensure that the outdoor unit of your HVAC system is running correctly, it’s a good idea to keep plants and other vegetation from growing too close to the unit.
Any blockages to the outdoor unit can cause the blower fan to malfunction.
The compressor is another part of the outdoor unit, and its job is to convert the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid and then send it to the coils.
The compressor can experience a lot of failures, so if your system doesn’t seem to be working right, this might be one of the first things you check.
Coils are also found in the outdoor unit, and they’re responsible for cooling the air as it passes through.
If the coils freeze up, that could be an indicator that something is wrong with the air filter or refrigerant levels.
9. Electrical Components
As you can imagine, every HVAC system must have electrical components to make the unit work.
The electrical components of an HVAC system are complicated.
If any issues arise with your system, this could be where the problem starts.
If you discover that your system isn’t working properly, an HVAC professional can check the electrical components to see if they need to be fixed.
What is the Difference Between HVAC and AC?
HVAC refers to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, whereas AC only refers to air conditioning. Most people use the acronym AC when they’re meaning the systems that are designed to cool the air in your home. Window air conditioners and mini split AC units common examples of AC only systems.
Types of HVAC Systems
There are four main HVAC system types that include the following:
1. Heating and Cooling Split Systems
These are the most common HVAC system type, and the system is split into two main units: one for heating and one for cooling.
The air conditioning unit is usually placed outside of the home, while the heater is located inside.
Split systems are used most often in homes and commercial buildings because they can be applied to a wide range of spaces and don’t require specific needs or environmental factors.
2. Hybrid Split System
This system runs almost identically to the regular split system, with one difference: the owner has the ability to switch between gas and electric heating.
A hybrid split system design makes the unit more energy-efficient and less expensive to run.
Ductless systems also referred to as a mini-split AC system, and individual HVAC units can be installed in any room of your home or office.
Ductless systems are generally mounted to the wall and attached to a compressor that sits outside.
These systems can be very energy efficient since you only cool the rooms that are actively being used.
Check out our best ductless mini split air conditioner reviews to find out more about these AC systems and compare the top models that are available today.
4. Packaged HVAC System
Packaged HVAC systems are an all-in-one heating and cooling solution for spaces that don’t have enough indoor room to house a furnace or an air handler.
A packaged HVAC system contains all of its components in a single outdoor unit, which can sit on the side of your property or on the roof.
These heating and cooling systems are not overly powerful, so this type of HVAC system is best suited for warmer climates.
What is an HVAC System Summary
We hope you enjoyed this detailed guide on what is HVAC system and what does HVAC stand for.
You now know the basics of how an HVAC system works and the various types available for residential and commercial buildings to help with your heating, cooling, and comfort needs.