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Understanding What “HVAC” Really Means
(and what they really do)

Understanding HVAC

You either know what it means…or you don’t. HVAC is an interesting acronym. Even if they don’t know what it stands for, most people are pleased when someone shows up to fix it. HVAC is what most would call an industry term, an acronym that stands for “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.”

Quite a mouthful, which is why people in the industry just call it “H-vac.” If you’re interested in the field or curious about what they do, keep in mind that an HVAC technician’s job is to repair and maintain the climate control of either residential or commercial buildings. It means that these professionals must know how to fix both heating and air conditioning systems, as well as the ventilation systems that move air.

A wide array of tools

The average person may not realize how integrated heating and air conditioning systems are—especially in the office and commercially. It’s mainly for this reason that HVAC technicians has become a specialty that’s in such high demand. The heating and cooling industry must follow state and federal regulations and certifications both in the home and elsewhere. HVAC techs make sure this happens.

To do this, they use a wide variety of tools. Look inside an HVAC tech’s toolbox and you’ll recognize the basics. But, then you’ll see a few things you may not recognize. These specialists use sophisticated tools like voltmeters, combustion analyzers, and carbon monoxide testers.


HVAC technicians have to be able to read and understand blueprints, so they can locate the systems they’ll maintain. They’ve also got to be able to understand the schematics and technical data for these systems.

Computers run most of these systems today, so HVAC techs must be able to use a wide collection of software programs. They even have to possess a general understanding of plumbing. Many commercial HVAC systems use water for both heating and cooling.