HVAC Isn’t Synonymous With A/C

While often used interchangeably, the acronyms HVAC and A/C are not synonymous. Your A/C is but one unit of all the HVAC systems that control your home’s indoor comfort and air quality. So, when it’s time for you to delve into home maintenance this season, here’s what to know about HVAC terms and jargon to help you better understand your home comfort needs when speaking with your HVAC contractor.


Investigating Industry Acronyms: HVAC and A/C


As you can notice, the HVAC industry uses many acronyms to quickly describe lengthy HVAC terms and phrases. A perfect example of this is the acronym HVAC itself, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

The term A/C (i.e. air conditioning) actually refers to any HVAC equipment that conditions the air in your home, whether cooling and/or heating. However, “A/C” has come to specifically mean any cooling system in your home.


Maintenance for Your HVAC System


Following are common types of HVAC systems and the frequency which each should be professionally serviced:

  • Heating: Heat pumps (e.g. split systems, packaged units, and ductless), gas furnaces, boilers, and fireplaces should be serviced once per year in the fall.
  • Ventilation: Heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) and other whole-home ventilation systems should be serviced once per year prior to the season which you use the system the most.
  • A/C: Split-system A/Cs, window A/Cs, and ductless A/Cs should be serviced once per year before you first use the system in the spring.
  • Ductwork: Your HVAC system’s air ducts are an essential system that contribute substantially to your home comfort and HVAC energy efficiency. Ask your HVAC technician to inspect the air ducts once per year during the spring or fall.

Perhaps one day, HVAC will come to mean Heating, Ventilation, And Cooling, but until then, understand that an HVAC service call may include all of your HVAC systems including ductwork, humidification management systems, air cleaners, zoning systems, and any other system that contributes to indoor comfort and air quality. And, that’s a good thing!

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