HVAC Systems: What They Are and How They Work

While the acronym itself describes the basic function of an HVAC system (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning), knowing what it is and how it works will help you better understand your HVAC systems.

This understanding is key to properly maintaining your system to ensure optimal performance and peak efficiency in order to avoid repair bills and reduce energy costs.

Keep reading to find out what an HVAC system is and they work:

What is an HVAC System?

Overall, an HVAC system comprises the technology and equipment necessary to heat, cool, and ventilate residential and commercial buildings. Apparently, you can contact an HVAC marketing agency to deliver you the most reliable HVAC contractors in your area.

Common HVAC equipment includes air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, and ductwork.


Typically, a home will have a furnace to provide thermal comfort to the indoor environment. There are different types of furnaces that can use a variety of fuel sources.

The most common furnace in use today is the natural gas furnace, although electric furnaces are popular in climates that experience milder winters.

Heat is typically distributed throughout the home or building through a forced-air system that pushes warm air through the ductwork using a blower.


The cooling aspect of HVAC can be achieved either through a traditional air conditioner or through heat pumps that can both cool and heat your home.

For buildings with heat pumps, these are usually paired with electric furnaces in order to ensure efficient heat. Alternatively, air conditioning systems are often paired with gas furnaces.


The last aspect of an HVAC system is ventilation which includes any system that helps to move air throughout your interior space.

This most commonly involves ductwork as well as vents throughout the floors, walls, and ceilings. Other ventilation shafts, such as chimney flues, are also considered part of the ventilation system.

However, it is possible to have a ductless HVAC system installed in your home. This more advanced form of ventilation is recommended for individual rooms or areas because the unit requires direct access to the exterior of your home or building.

How Does an HVAC System Work?

The main function of an HVAC system is to move warm air either throughout the home or out of it by either capturing it or creating it.

Here are the specific ways in which an HVAC system works in your home or commercial building:

Heating Your Home

In order to warm your home or building, a furnace generates heat that is then distributed throughout the interior space.

Alternatively, a heat pump can achieve this as well by absorbing heat from the outdoor unit and moving it to the inside. Because it is not generating heat, it can be a more energy-efficient means of heating your space.

Cooling Your Home

Contrary to popular belief, air conditioning systems do not create cold air. Instead, air conditioners absorb heat from inside your home and move it to an exterior unit where it is released into the atmosphere.

The key to this process is the refrigerant within the cooling system that absorbs this heat and moves it through the system.

Ventilating Your Home

As mentioned before, ductwork is commonly used to move air around your home or building.

However, your ventilation system may also include a chimney flue or vent stack that gets rid of excess heat.

Ventilation may also be installed to the side of your home or building to prevent moisture condensation and lower humidity levels in the system and prevent long-term damage.

The Components of an HVAC System

HVAC systems have many moving parts that all work together to provide your building structure with adequate heat or cool air. Here are some main components you should be aware of:

  • Air Return: The air return draws air into the HVAC system through a filter.
  • Filter: Filters are included in HVAC systems to trap particles such as dust and allergens in order to improve interior air quality.
  • Exhaust Outlets: Exhaust outlets refer to any area where heat is vented from your home or building.
  • Thermostat: In order to control the interior temperature, a thermostat is used to relay to the system what temperature you desire.
  • Compressor: If you have an air conditioner or heat pump, the compressor regulates the pressure of the refrigerant.
  • Coils: The coils absorb and transfer both heat and moisture in order to regular the temperature of the refrigerant.

Repairing and Maintaining Your HVAC System

Now that you understand the working parts of an HVAC system, you can see how many components must work properly in order to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Likewise, a properly working system will also reduce energy consumption and therefore reduce the amount of your energy bills.

While there are certain maintenance tasks you can do yourself, it is recommended that you have a professional HVAC technician regularly inspect your system.

Regular inspection and maintenance will help you avoid costly repair bills and extend the life of your HVAC unit.

HVAC companies like Emitless Home Services & HVAC Vaughan are dedicated to providing you with quality and affordable service. Contact us today to book your maintenance appointment!