Beyond the Basics: Do You Really Know What HVAC Means?

HVAC is a generally well known term. However, not many homeowners or building managers understand what it really means. Yes, it’s an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning but there’s more to it than these words. The following are some of the most important things you need to know about HVAC:


  1. Not Only for Buildings

HVAC is a technology that is not only limited to buildings. It also applies to vehicles. There are of course differences in the implementation but basically, when you say HVAC, it’s not only for homes or buildings. You can also consult HVAC experts especially for recreational vehicles and large trucks used in business.

  1. HVAC Components

There are 4 major HVAC components. These are the furnace (which supplies the heat), the ventilation ductwork (which includes the vents, and is responsible for moving the heated or cooled air evenly throughout the house or building), and air-conditioning unit (which is of course responsible for bringing down the temperature), and the thermostats (which act as the “brain” of the HVAC system). The thermostat is responsible for controlling the right amount of heat or coolness that should be maintained.

  1. HVAC Expertise

Installing, troubleshooting, repairing, or replacing HVAC requires some degree of expertise. If you don’t know enough or you don’t have the right experience to handle HVAC installation or repair work, it would be better to ask somebody who has the expertise to handle the job. HVAC systems are important in homes or buildings. Their failure or malfunctioning can greatly affect comfort and convenience.  Additionally, improper installations can create various risks, electrical and health risks in particular. You need to make sure your HVAC is installed properly and that you have the right HVAC system that suits your home or building best. It shouldn’t be difficult finding a good HVAC technician nowadays. You may even find some who use an HVAC business software to make it easy to set appointments or get price quotes.

  1. Most Popular Heating System: Forced Air

Forced air system is the most common heating system at present. With this kind of heating system, air is used as the medium for transferring heat. It involves the use of ductwork, plenums, and vents to distribute hot air. The forced air system can be of different types: natural gas (propane, oil or coal), electric, heat pump, and hydronic coil. In all of these systems, hot air needs to be forced to where it is needed. In natural gas systems, heat is generated through the combustion of the natural gas fuel. In electric systems, an electric heating element is needed.

  1. Heating System Efficiency Ranking

According to Green Energy Efficient Homes, an organization created to help people in reducing home energy use, heating systems can be ranked from the most efficient to the least efficient as follows: solar heating, geothermal heating, wood heating, heat pump (non-geothermal), natural gas heating, and oil heating.

  1. HVAC and Indoor Air Quality

Good HVAC systems should ensure good indoor air quality. It’s not enough to only have good heating, cooling, and ventilation. It’s also important to have the ability to purify air, manage moisture levels, get rid of unwanted smells, and make sure that air does not stagnate.

  1. Same Air Conditioning Process in Different Packages

Regardless of the type of AC unit you have (split, window, or portable AC units), the way they work is the same. Basically, the AC unit sends warm vapor refrigerant through the compressor where it turns into hot refrigerant vapor and goes to the condenser. This process is repeated over and over again absorb heat indoors. The difference in the different types of AC lies in the pros and cons that come with each of them.

If you want a relatively inexpensive option that is easy to install, go for a window air conditioner unit. A window unit, however, is only good for cooling one room or a limited scope of space. If you want something that does not require any installation and portable, get a portable AC unit. You just have to be ready to tolerate the high noise levels, lower efficiency, and the need to empty the unit’s tray/bucket every 2 to 6 hours because it does not have an exhaust-drain system similar to other AC units. You may want to get a split or ductless air conditioner if you want something with minimum size, low noise, and the ability to “zone” your home or building.

  1. HVAC System Lifespan

If properly maintained, HVAC systems are expected to average around 10 to 15 years of useful life. Usually, premature HVAC sytem failures happen because of improper installation and the lack of good maintenance.

  1. HVAC Costs

Commercial HVAC system prices typically start at $15,000 for the smallest units. Residential units, on the other hand, cost around $6,000 to $12,000. These units are expected to adequately cover a home with a 1,000 square feet area. Take note that these are just for the acquisition costs. If you are thinking of having an HVAC system installed, you also need to take into account two other costs namely, maintenance costs and the monthly utility bills. The associated maintenance and utility costs widely vary from place to place so it would be better to just inquire about these from the HVAC specialists near you. Moreover, it’s worth pointing out that there are utility companies that offer hundreds of dollars in rebates for homeowners or building owners who buy high efficiency HVAC systems.


These bits of information are certainly not going to serve as a comprehensive guide as you deal with HVAC systems. However, they should provide you a good glimpse into what HVAC systems really are. These should serve as a good guide as you go through HVAC acquisition, installation, repairs, and replacement.

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