What Does HVAC Stand For?

November 12th, 2021 | Heating & Cooling, Tips & Tricks

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the term used for your heating and cooling systems. Found in homes, commercial buildings, cruise ships, and more, HVAC systems are how we maintain temperatures and proper airflow within structures.

HVAC systems circulate air and transfer heat to provide temperature variations. This process improves your home’s air quality and keeps a comfortable climate for you and your family.

How an HVAC System Works

Your HVAC, or climate-control system, has three main elements:

  • A source of warm and cool air
  • A means of distribution, usually pipes or ducts
  • A control unit to regulate the system, such as a thermostat

There is always heat in the air regardless of the temperature (except at absolute zero, which is not a concern), and this heat is extracted to warm your home. There is not enough heat to extract from the outside during colder months, so heating elements are used to heat the air to the desired level before releasing it into your home.

Providing cooler air during the hotter months is a two-step process. The air conditioner removes the warmer air from your home and uses gas compression to cool the incoming air from outside.

One slight variation to this rule involves heat pumps and thermal energy pumps. Heat pumps are a single unit that provides both warm and cool air. 

They use the principle of extracting the warm air from one location — the inside or outside air — and transferring the heat to the desired location. It is like a furnace and air conditioner in one. Heat pumps are common in Memphis, TN.

Thermal energy pumps use the natural heat of the earth to transfer the warm and cool air. The ground remains at 51 degrees Fahrenheit, which thermal pumps use as a base. Warming your home by 20 degrees is more energy-efficient, and although the process is slightly different, it provides the same temperature year-round.

HVAC System Components

Several items make up the HVAC system. A few of the more important components include:

Thermostats

The thermostat is the main control center of the HVAC system and the part you’ll interact with the most. It is manually controlled or programmed to reach certain temperatures at specific times.

Furnaces

Your furnace is what creates the heat for your home. This heating can be done by warming air or heating water, which it delivers through ducts or pipes. It is the largest unit in the system, so you must make space to accommodate it, usually in your basement.

Air Conditioners

An air conditioner unit sits outside the home. It removes the warm air from the inside by compressing refrigerants, sending cool air through the HVAC system.

Evaporator Coils

The evaporator uses cold refrigerant to absorb heat from the air.

Condensing Units

This unit takes the warm refrigerant from the evaporator coil and cools it before returning it to the evaporator coil to restart the process.

Refrigerant Lines

These carry refrigerant to the condensing unit in the form of gas. The gas is transformed into liquid form and sent back to the evaporator coil.

Transference of Warm Air Within Your Home

There are three different types of heat distribution systems used in home HVAC setups:

  • Gravity systems
  • Forced air systems
  • Radiant systems

Let’s look at each one in greater depth:

Gravity Systems

These systems are typically installed in basements and follow the principle that hot air rises. Warm air is generated in the cellar and rises to heat the rest of the home. The warm air forces the cool air down, where it eventually reaches the unit, is reheated and sent back upstairs.

Forced Air Systems

Forced air systems heat the air and push it through the ductwork to the desired locations. They use a blower to distribute the air. If an air conditioner is attached to the system, the blower is also used to push the cold air throughout the home during the warmer months.

Radiant Systems

Radiant systems require a boiler instead of a furnace. Boilers heat water and push it through pipes via pressure. The hot water reaches radiators or installed flooring pipes and provides heat to the desired areas of the home.

HVAC System Longevity

HVAC systems usually come with some warranty, and an extended warranty may be as long as ten years. However, this length of time is contingent on proper maintenance. 

No matter how new your HVAC system is, an HVAC contractor should be performing maintenance on it every year. This maintenance may be a condition of your warranty.

Once an HVAC system passes the ten-year mark, it may need repairs occasionally. If you keep up on your maintenance schedule, you can count on your system lasting 12 to 15 years without much issue. Well-maintained systems should reach the 15 to 20-year mark before needing to be replaced.

Talk to your HVAC contractor for more information. Electric and gas furnaces have different life cycles, as do heat pumps and boilers.

Finding an HVAC Contractor in Memphis, TN.

Nance Services is committed to the comfort of our customers. We are a local business servicing Memphis, Arlington, Barlett, and the surrounding areas. With over 75 years of combined experience, we have formulated the perfect business model. 

We offer 100% satisfaction on our work, 24/7 availability, same-day service, and an unequaled commitment to quality and customer service. Call Nance today for all of your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs.

Nance Services is a full-service HVAC & Plumbing Company based in Memphis, TN. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing and HVAC professionals.