What does the acronym HVAC mean to a nonprofessional? Commonly seen or spoken of, the meaning of these initials is not always clear. HVAC stands for “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning”. A/C is a sub category of HVAC meaning Air Conditioning. The objective of HVAC is to provide comfort for everyday living, keep air clean in hospitals and laboratories and cool electronic equipment to cite a few applications.
“H” is for Heating
Heating is associated with radiators, furnaces, fireplace stoves, and electric heating. Radiators are fed with hot water from boilers, fireplace and stoves provides radiant heat by burning wood or coal, cast iron stoves heat up a space by means of fossil fuel burning, and electric heaters use the principle of electrical resistance to generate heat. Heating is one of the essentials that we cannot do without.
“V” is for Ventilation
Ventilation refers to air circulation and movement between an open space, and an enclosed space. It is possible to achieve this by natural means (breezes through an open window) or by means of forced ventilation. Ventilation is achieved via chimneys, grilles in walls, blowers, and ventilators. Ventilation is mostly a safety feature to avoid build up of carbon monoxide in an enclosed space when using open fires but also to keep air flowing freely in an enclosed space.
“AC” is for Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning is not just about refrigerant filled air conditioning units. The word “conditioning” refers to conditioning the air by filtering and cooling for the comfort of the occupants in a room. The air conditioning equipment should alter air temperature by heating or cooling, alter the humidity of the air, mix and circulate air, and filter and purify air. Air conditioners are found coupled with heating, and ventilation especially with central air conditioners.
Alter Air Temperature
Equipment, which alters air temperature, by means of cooling is called an air conditioner. It is called a heat pump, if it is used for heating.
Alter air humidity
A conventional air conditioner can alter humidity. When used for cooling, it will also dehumidify. A heat pump will also alter relative humidity as it heats up the air.
Circulate and mix air
Stale and stagnant air is not good for health. Fans can achieve air circulation in its simplest form, which displaces warm air. Ducts and blowers are required for air circulation throughout a whole building. This combination is used with central air conditioners. The conditioned air may then be circulated to designated areas.
Filtration and Purification
Most air conditioning equipment is fitted with filters to filter out dust. Air purification is achieved by activated carbon to remove odours, UV light for removing germs, and HEPA filters, which are high efficiency filters to remove particles from air.