What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Most insiders would agree that it is more commonly pronounced H-V-A-C and not H-Vac. 

If that's all you wanted to know great, stop here and get on with your life.  If this left you seeking more then by all means read on...

Still here? Great!  Let's unpack this acronym:

H is for Heating

Heating for a building is typically accomplished by heating up Water or Air and distributing it through a series of pipes or ductwork.  Heating with water can be refered to as hydronic heating, unless the water is heated up to a point where it turns into steam.  Of the two, the first is more commonly found in buildings today, while steam is reserved for older homes and facilities like hospitals and universities.  Air, on the other hand, may be simply refered to as a forced-air heating system.  These systems can vary in size from small residential units to large commercial air-handling units.

V is for Ventilation

Building ventilation has a couple of different varieties as well, namely natural and mechanical.  Ventilation to me is one of most ignored types of systems but it is probably the oldest.  Natural ventilation refers to using the movement of air to remove contaminents and heat from one location to another, think "spring cleaning" when after a long winter you want to flush a house with outside air so it no longer smells stale.  Studies show that people who experience this natural ventilation are more tolerant to lower and higher than normal inside temperatures.  Natural ventilation is also being integrated into new "Green" Buildings for those very reasons.  Mechanical ventilation is just a fancy way of saying air movement that uses a fan.  This can be a toilet room exhaust fan or a kitchen hood fan just to give a couple of examples.

AC is for Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning is the latest addition to this list and although you can use both air and water to accomplish this air is the overwhelming favorite as far as space cooling.  Don't get me wrong a lot of water is used in air conditioning but to cool the occupied spaces is being done with air.  If you want to know more about this I'll unpack this on another page.