Examining the Terms HVAC and AC

Air vents

Humans and acronyms go way back. Centuries ago, the Greeks used them, and so did the Roman government. Today, abbreviations show up in conversations all the time. We have the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, MIA (missing in action), and when you want something done quickly, you request it be completed ASAP. We’ll skip the whole ROFL, BFF, and IDK conversation! But living in a world of acronyms can get confusing. You’ve likely heard HVAC and AC tossed around in discussions about your home’s mechanicals. Used interchangeably, these terms often confuse people. In today’s post, experts in HVAC system repair in Gainesville, GA, solve the mystery.

What Does HVAC Mean?

People in the heating and cooling trades often forget that homeowners don’t always understand the jargon we use daily. We use the term HVAC all the time without a second thought. Some contractors even use it as part of their business name. Let’s break it down! HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. It’s a term we use to encompass the entire heating and cooling system in a home or commercial building. Several decades ago, people used boilers and radiators to heat their homes. Central air-conditioning didn’t arrive in most homes until the 1970s. Today, an HVAC system is a standard in modern homes. It’s the most efficient way to cool and heat living spaces.

Main Parts of the HVAC System

It’s all about indoor air temperature. The HVAC system pushes air through ductwork. The air flows out of vents into the rooms of your home, where it then circulates, keeping you warm or cool. HVAC systems also help keep the humidity inside your home at a healthy level. During the colder months, the system uses either a furnace or a heat pump. Furnaces run on natural gas, propane, or electricity. For cooling during the warmer months, the system uses an air conditioner. In most HVAC system configurations, the air conditioner runs on a split system. A compressor and condenser sit outside your home. Inside your home, you’ll find the evaporator and expansion valve. HVAC systems also include air ducts, vents, filters, and exhaust fans. These components circulate air and remove excess moisture, dust, and other harmful particles.

Window AC unit

Can the AC Stand Alone?

Take away the HV, and now you’re left with AC, which stands for air-conditioning. You knew that! In short, all HVAC systems include air-conditioning units, but not all air-conditioning units are connected to an HVAC system. A central air unit is the only air conditioner that works as part of your HVAC system. Split or ductless AC systems consist of outside and inside units but don’t use ductwork. Window AC units function as stand-alone cooling systems.

Whichever terms you use when calling about your HVAC system in Gainesville, GA, the team at Gainesville Mechanical is here to help. Contact us today to schedule service!

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