What is HVAC?


You’re probably familiar with the term HVAC, but how much do you really know about it? Though HVAC has become household vocabulary, many people don’t know what HVAC is, how it works, or what HVAC service entails. If you’re looking to fix or replace an HVAC system, it’s important to become familiar with the technology and how it functions.

man using instrument to check HVAC unit

What is HVAC and How Does It Work?

HVAC is simply an acronym used for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems used by residential and commercial buildings to control various characteristics of enclosed air. These spaces use HVAC technology to achieve optimal indoor air quality by regulating the air temperature, purity, humidity and more. An HVAC system, or unit, consists of several components working together to accomplish this task.

Though there are several different types of HVAC systems, they all operate in essentially the same way: they move air. More specifically, HVAC units move warm air from one place to another; they either move it into or out of the enclosed area. The different components inside an HVAC system—such as heat pumps, furnaces, blowers, and ducts—work in tandem to capture or create the heat and begin the required movement. When heat is created, the enclosure can be warmed; when heat is captured and removed, the enclosure can be cooled.

What are the Different Types of HVAC Systems?

HVAC systems come in all shapes and sizes that are broken up into residential and commercial categories. Residential HVAC units are usually stand-alone equipment located in the backyard or on the side of the house. Commercial HVAC units, on the other hand, are much larger systems often found on the building’s roof. Breaking it down a little further, there are four main types of HVAC systems, some more common than others:

  • Heating and Cooling Split Systems
  • Hybrid Split System
  • Ductless HVAC
  • Packaged Heating and Air

What Parts Make Up an HVAC Unit?

HVAC units are made up of several key components and parts that vary depending on the type of system. But generally speaking, HVACs consist of a furnace, heat pumps, refrigerant, blowers, and some sort of ventilation and ductwork. These elements collaborate to heat or cool the building based on numerous circumstantial commands and conditions. Other ancillary equipment parts include:

  • Compressors
  • Coils
  • Exhaust Outlets
  • Filters
  • Humidity Control
  • Thermostat

What is HVAC Service and Maintenance?

Like any complex equipment, HVAC units require regular service and maintenance to keep them running properly. HVAC service typically involves scheduling an appointment with a professional HVAC technician, who will come inspect the unit for safety and performance. These checks include inspecting the electrical equipment, thermostat controls, drain line and ventilation system, and all of the pumps and valves for signs of wear and tear. The best HVAC service companies will also provide a free estimate to help you prepare for the job ahead.

Many business owners and homeowners wait until there’s an HVAC emergency to look into HVAC service, but planning HVAC maintenance is always recommended to ensure healthy, comfortable indoor air quality. The four different types of planned HVAC maintenance are:

  • Preventative HVAC Maintenance 
  • Predictive HVAC Maintenance 
  • Risk-Based HVAC Maintenance 
  • Corrective HVAC Maintenance 

The Big Dog in Heating & Cooling

Chancey & Reynolds has been installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC systems in greater Knoxville since 1978. Our NATE-certified technicians determine precisely what your heating and cooling unit needs for optimal performance and a longer lifespan. HVAC users across Knoxville and Lenoir City trust our team of air specialists to keep their homes comfortable all year long. Contact us today to get started!