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What Is HVAC & What Does It Stand For?

What Is HVAC

HVAC is a commonly used term to refer to the air conditioning and heating system of a home. HVAC is actually an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Let’s talk about what is HVAC and basic knowledge of how your HVAC system works.

What Is HVAC?

As mentioned, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It is a system that includes your air conditioner unit outside and your air handler which is inside. Your air handler may also be named a heater or furnace.

The system does a lot more than just keeping your home cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Your HVAC system is also responsible for filtering air and removing humidity from the air. Without filtration and dehumidifying, the air inside your home could easily become humid and dirty.

How Does Your HVAC System Work?

Your HVAC system is responsible for many different things. Let’s take a look how the HVAC system works below.

Air Conditioning – Your HVAC system compresses freon gas through copper pipes. When freon gas compresses, it gets really cold. Then, a giant blower/fan in your air handler pushes air through the copper pipes known as the coil. This ultimately cools the air and pushes it throughout your home.

Heating – This is your air conditioning system in reverse. When freon expands, it heats. Then the air is blown through the hot copper coils to warm your home. Heating could also be completed through a gas furnace or electric heater (emergency heat setting on your thermostat if you have it).

Dehumidifying – When the air conditioner is being used, the freon gas is compressed in the coils of your air handler. Since the freon gas becomes cold, the copper pipes begin to condense moisture in the air just like if you take a cold water bottle from the fridge. That moisture is then drained outside the home using the condensation line. This area can be commonplace for mold and air handler sweating.

Ventilation – In most homes, ventilation happens naturally through windows, doors, and small cracks. However, in newer homes, ventilation can become mechanical and require fresh air intakes that are mixed into your inside air.

Filtration – When air is pushed through your air handler, it passes through a filter that cleans the air. This filter should be replaced every 1-3 months.

How to make your HVAC more efficient.

Other Common Questions

Let’s take a look at other common questions relating to your system.

How Long Do They Last?

HVAC systems can last 10-15 years on average. However, if you live near the beach or directly on the beach, you might expect your air conditioner to only last about 4-5 years. For homes inland, you might reach lifespans over 15 years.

It can depend on HVAC maintenance, brand, and environmental conditions so be sure you are properly maintaining your HVAC system. Learn how to maintain your HVAC system.

How Much Is An HVAC System?

On average, expect to pay about $4,000 – $5,000 for a new system. This includes a new air handler/heater and an outside air conditioner unit. Cost can vary depending on size, brand, location, and type of heater.


Hopefully, this helps clear the air on what is HVAC, what it means, and how it works! Have a question? Comment below.

Call Waypoint Property Inspection to inspect your home in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and surrounding areas.