Heating and Cooling Basics: The Defnition of HVACIf someone asks you the definition of HVAC, you”ll probably say it has to do with home heating and cooling. That’s correct, but the term HVAC actually stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These components each have a vital role to play in maintaining a healthy, comfortable home. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components that make up an HVAC system.


When winter arrives in Michigan, a heating system is a necessity to keep a dwelling warm and comfortable. The most common type is a forced-air system that employs a gas or oil furnace to burn fuel and create heat. The indoor air handler’s blower fan sends the heated air out through a supply duct system to registers in each room. Cooled air is drawn into return ducts that bring it back to the furnace for reheating.


Today’s focus on improving energy efficiency with air sealing, insulating and tighter home construction makes adequate ventilation essential. If ample air exchange is lacking, allergens, biological contaminants, mold, mildew and harmful volatile organic chemicals stay trapped inside and degrade air quality. Installing a whole-house ventilation system equipped with a heat recovery ventilator is an effective way to remove stale indoor air and bring in fresher outdoor air while minimizing energy losses.

Air Conditioning

A central split-system air conditioner is the type of cooling system most often found in homes with forced-air heating. An evaporator coil is installed in the indoor air handler cabinet and a condenser/compressor is located outdoors. Refrigerant lines running between the two units transfer heat outdoors, and the existing blower and ductwork are used for air distribution. The blower fan draws warm air in through the return ducts and sends it across the evaporator to be cooled. The blower then pushes the cooled air through the supply ducts to the various rooms, and the refrigerant is sent to the outdoor condenser where absorbed heat is expelled.

For answers to any questions you may have about the definition of HVAC, contact the Grand Traverse County home comfort pros at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about HVAC systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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