What is an HVAC Contractor?

So, you want to know what an HVAC contractor is exactly? In an industry plagued by acronyms, wondering what these four letters mean can be the difference between a giant mistake or a really great experience when it comes to heating and air conditioning repairs.

What Does HVAC Stand For?

Let’s start with the word and work our way up from there. The acronym HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC has an alternative meaning of high-voltage alternating current, but for what we’re discussing as it related to your home, we’ll stick with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC encompasses the technology behind both home and vehicle indoor comfort. HVAC is a subset of mechanical engineering and uses the principles of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer (exciting, right?).

There’s an alternative acronym for home HVAC that includes an “R” making the acronym HVAC&R or HACR. The “R” stands for refrigeration. While not commonly used, it is another component of the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation industry.

Who Uses HVAC and HVAC Contractors?

HVAC affects nearly every aspect of not only your life but so many other structures. From residential structures like your single family home, apartment building, and senior living facilities to less common structures like hospitals, ships, and submarines, HVAC is secretly keeping us comfortable and safe quietly in the background – it’s truly the unsung hero of civilized living environments. Can you imagine what would happen if a Grocery Store’s air conditioner went out in the mid-summer Virginia heat waves? Yeah – HVAC is vitally important to our way of life.

Ventilation is one of the silent heroes of HVAC. According to Wikipedia, “ventilating (the V in HVAC) is the process of exchanging or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality which involves temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases.” From regulating moisture content in the air to removing bad smells, ventilation prevents the stagnation of indoor air making everything more enjoyable for those inside.

The History of HVAC

HVAC was based on inventions made by “Nikolay Lvov, Michael Faraday, Willis Carrier, Edwin Ruud, Reuben Trane, James Joule, William Rankine, Sadi Carnot” among many others. The first HVAC training school was opened in 1899, and the first air conditioning comfort system was designed in 1902 by Alfred Wolff. The HVAC inventions came about the same time of the industrial revolution and since then the HVAC industry has continued to evolve year after year with the advent of technological advancements.

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