What is HVAC and What Does It Stand For?

Here in Raleigh NC, we have some brutal summers, so it’s important to know what all goes into your HVAC unit. What does HVAC really mean? How does HVAC even work? What are the different HVAC components? We’re here to explain it all!

HVAC basics:

What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It involves the equipment, technology, and systems used in residential and commercial buildings to control the temperature indoors. These systems filter and clean the indoor air and keep humidity levels down.  Heating and cooling a building or home can be achieved using many different systems. You are not required to have combined systems. An HVAC system ensures an even distribution of warm and cold air using a series of ducts and vents.

How does HVAC work?

All of the components in your home might be separate. However, it is more common to see combined systems such as central heating and air. Your HVAC system in your home will improve air quality and provide comfort for everyone inside of the space. Heating a space can be done through many different pieces of equipment including forced air systems, geothermal, hydrothermal, and radiant heat. Ventilation is how the system provides healthy air throughout the space at the temperature that you would like it. This can be achieved through natural ventilation, exhaust ventilation, supply ventilation, balanced ventilation, and energy recovery. Air Conditioning systems work in the exact opposite way of heating systems using energy to pull heat from a space.

What are the different HVAC components?

  • Heating: Generally, the heating components of an HVAC system is a heat pump or a gas/electric furnace. It could also be both if you use what’s called a “dual fuel” system.
  • Heat Pump: A heat pump pulls warm air from outside and then brings it in through the evaporator coil. A heat pump converts energy into heat by using a small amount of power.
  • Ventilation: As an essential part of an HVAC system, the ventilation moves air, removes particles, and removes excess moisture in the air.
  • Furnace: The furnace takes up the most space and uses the most energy out of all of the parts of an HVAC system. Usually, it is in a space that is not commonly used. A furnace has burners and ignitions that are used for heating the air.
  • Air Conditioning: Beyond keeping air cool, and fighting off the horrible Raleigh summers, the AC unit also controls humidity. Most HVAC systems have a spilt AC unit which means part of the unit is on the inside while part of the unit is on the outside. Generally the compressor and condenser are located outside, while the evaporator coil and the expansion valve are located inside the home.


Here at Cool Change Heating and Air we strive to educate our customers about their equipment. There is nothing worse than having this extremely important and expensive piece of equipment and not knowing what all goes into it.

If you would like to learn more about your HVAC unit, feel free to give us a call at 919-457-2494.