HVAC ~ What Is It? & A Little History

HVAC is shorthand for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, three functions that are interrelated in modern buildings. Together they meet the need to provide “thermal comfort” and acceptable indoor air quality. The goal of modern HVAC, whether in residential or commercial settings, is to provide both of those things within reasonable installation, operation and maintenance costs. In addition to heating and cooling, HVAC systems provide ventilation, air filtration, and maintain air pressure relationships between linked spaces.

Modern HVAC is based on discoveries and inventions made by many people including Nikolay Lvov, Michael Faraday, Willis Carrier, Edwin Ruud, Reuben Trane, and Adolf Wolff who designed the first comfort air-conditioning for the New York Stock Exchange.

Both heating and cooling of buildings have been around for longer than we imagine. Heating most often took the form of bringing fire and or heated water indoors. Occasionally, in areas of geothermal activity such as hot springs, human cleverly built their structures to incorporate the naturally occurring hot water. For cooling we can look back to the ancient Egyptians who hung reeds in their windows, moistened by trickling water which then evaporated as air blew across it.

The ancient Romans were clever enough to circulate cold water from aqueducts through clay pipes in the walls to cool their homes and heated water through channels under the floors to heat them.

Developments in HVAC went hand-in-hand with the industrial revolution and the constant demand for new methods, modernization, higher efficiency and systematic control of environments. The ventilation element lies at the heart of this, being one of the most important factors in maintaining indoor air quality. Ventilation is the process of changing air within a space in order to control temperature and remove moisture, smoke, dust, airborne bacteria, odors, or carbon dioxide while replenishing oxygen. It can include both the exchange of air with the outside and circulation and treatment of air within a building.

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P.O. Box 20716
San Jose, CA 95160

Office: 408-333-9700
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Fax: 408-865-7934

Email: info@norcalmechanical.net

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