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What Does HVAC Mean?

two stan's ac technicians moving air conditioner in austin

If you’re a long-time Austin homeowner, you’re likely familiar with the acronym HVAC, but have you ever wondered what it stands for, or what it means?

In this short post on the Stan’s Heating, Air & Plumbing blog, we’ll explain just that and more. From understanding words like heating and ventilation, to learning how your HVAC system really works, you’re guaranteed to learn everything you need to know to feel confident before, during, and after your HVAC repair in Austin.

Short on time? Watch this 2-minute video to find out what HVAC stands for and how it works!

What Does HVAC Stand For?

HVAC is an acronym that stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Put simply, a HVAC system refers to the equipment, technology, and processes that go into heating, cooling, and ventilating your home. Whether you own a home or a commercial property, your HVAC system is what moves, filters, heats, and cools your air so that it’s comfortable all year.

How do HVAC Systems Work?

All HVAC systems–regardless of make or model–have 3 common elements that work the same from system to system. These elements include:

  1. A heating element—otherwise known as a furnace, which is a machine that heats up air to then be moved throughout your home. Furnaces can come in different types and may use different fuel sources—such as natural gas, electricity, or propane—but they effectively work the same in that they’re used to heat the air inside your home. Furnaces will often come with a blower motor, a separate contraption that’s used to circulate the heated air throughout the home, as well.
  2. A cooling component, known as an air conditioning system—which draws heat from inside the home and releases it outside. Some homes may have a Heat Pump instead of a conventional air conditioner, these systems cool the home and heat the home through the refrigerant cycle.The main difference between these systems is a component called the reversing valve. During the winter months the reversing valve will switch the flow of the refrigerant, now your indoor coil becomes the coil that dissipates the heat captured from the outdoor ambient air and the outdoor coil releases the cold air from the home. The heat pump is much more efficient than heating your home with a straight electric system.
  3. The third element of an HVAC system is the ventilation, the “V” in HVAC. Ventilation refers to the ductwork inside your home that makes transporting your heated or cooled air possible. Ventilation systems also contain “air handling systems,” which use filters to remove dirt, dust, allergens, and other particles to keep your air clean and healthy to breathe.Note: In situations where you only need to heat or cool one part of your home, a ductless system (also known as a mini-split) may be used. As their name implies, these units contain no ducts, attach to the wall, and can be used to keep a single room comfortable, while helping you save even more on energy costs.

How Does an HVAC System Work?

HVAC systems transfer heat. During the cooling cycle, the thermostat monitors the set temperature you prefer. Once the temperature rises a degree, the outdoor unit starts and the refrigerant begins to move through the loop, pulling the heat from the air inside the space that the blower motor pushes across the evaporator coil. The heat is then captured in the refrigerant and dispersed outside by the outdoor units fan, and the cooler air is pushed throughout the space by the duct system. This cycle will just continue until the thermostat is satisfied. The heat pump system does the same during the cooling cycle and switches the flow of refrigerant during the heat cycle to transfer the heat from outside to inside.

A gas furnace on a conventional system does not use refrigerant to heat. The furnace has a heat exchanger and blower that work together in order to heat the space. Cold air is pulled through the return side of the furnace and pushed across the heat exchanger. Burners heat up the heat exchanger and hotter air is now distributed throughout the home through the duct system until the thermostat is satisfied.

Choose Stan’s for Your Austin HVAC Repair

We hope this post has helped bring clarity to what an HVAC system is and how one works. Should you experience a problem with your HVAC system and need HVAC repair in Austin, you know who to call!

Stan’s Heating, Air, & Plumbing is the go-to company for thousands of Austin homeowners each year. Our team of experienced Austin HVAC repair technicians is second to none and know everything there is to know about keeping your home comfortable. Whether you have a problem with your furnace, ventilation, or air conditioner, we can have your HVAC system up and running in no time.

Contact us to schedule your expert HVAC repair in Austin!