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What is an HVAC System?

Updated: Jan 26

HVAC - Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

HVAC is a common term that people use, and most have a general idea of what it's referring to. On the other hand, what exactly does HVAC mean? And, how does it apply to your home? World's Greatest heating and Air provides full HVAC solutions, and we can give you the lowdown on HVAC basics. The purpose of an HVAC system is more than just warming or cooling a space. Instead, it serves to improve indoor air quality and provide comfort for everyone inside a building. While there are several different types of HVAC systems, they all begin with the same essentials. Let's see what they do:


  • Air Conditioner - An air conditioner cools your home by removing heat and humidity from inside and transferring it outside.

  • Heat Pump - The name might be confusing, but, a heat pump can both heat and cool your home. They use refrigerant to absorb, transport, and release heat, and they can reverse the flow of that refrigerant depending on if you need heating or cooling. Heat pumps are powered by electricity, not fossil fuels.

  • Furnace - Furnaces create heat by burning a fuel source like natural gas or propane. The heat they create is then distributed throughout your home, in order to increase the indoor temperature.

  • Air Handler - Air handlers circulate both warm and cool air formed by other HVAC units throughout your entire home, in order to reach your desired temperature in every room.

  • Ductwork - Ductwork is a system of pipes, also known as ducts, that carry and distribute air from units like your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump.

  • Thermostat - The thermostat, located inside your home, allows you to control your indoor temperature. When you change the temperature on your thermostat, it signals to the rest of your HVAC system your home needs to be warmer or cooler.  

Ok, but how does it work?

The goal of your HVAC system is to make your desired comfort level for your home a reality. To do this, a complete system must be built from a combination of an air conditioner, furnace, air handler, ductwork, thermostat and maybe even some other units like a humidifier or air purifier.

Once the proper HVAC system for your home is selected and installed, you’ll begin controlling the temperature inside with your thermostat. When the thermostat tells the other HVAC units in your home the temperature needs to change, they will begin the process of producing warm or cool air. That newly warmed or cooled air will be distributed throughout your home with the help of ductwork or an air handler. If your home features a ductless system, refrigerant lines will help move the air through the system.

HVAC systems can be powered by either gas or electricity, though most systems are now electric. The main exception are furnaces, which tend to be either gas or oil powered.

So there you have it! A quick overview of the essential parts to an HVAC system! If yours starts making a strange noise contact us right away!






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