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What is an HVAC System?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. To cut to the chase, an HVAC system regulates the air in your home. The ventilation element of the system exchanges indoor air for fresh air from outside. It also flushes stale air in cold weather and muggy air in hotter temperatures. But ventilation does more than move air around: good ventilation will prevent excessive moisture from growing mold and other harmful particles, like smoke and nitrogen dioxide, from circulating in your home.

As a homeowner, you rarely deal with your HVAC system, so it’s no wonder you’ve got questions when it comes to installing one. Let’s start from the beginning: How do you know if you even have an HVAC system, and how does it work?

While air moves in and out of your home, the rest of your HVAC system maintains a comfortable temperature. Depending on where you live, you may want heating, cooling, or both. Here’s the good news: you have options.

Types of HVAC Systems

Some of the most common systems include ductless mini split systems, central air conditioners, and furnaces.

Central Air Conditioning

Cools air from one central location in your home and distributes it through ductwork.

Ductless Mini Split

Distributes cold or hot air to your home without ductwork.


Uses fuel to warm air from a central location and circulates it through ductwork.

Heat Pump

Heats and cools more efficiently than conventional electric heaters.


Heats water and circulates it through piping and radiators/baseboards to warm your home.


Adds moisture to the air, either through your central HVAC or standalone system.

Geothermal Heating

Transfers heat into your home through the use of its main heatsource: the ground.

Radiant Systems

Relies on radiant heat to supply heat directly to your home's floor, wall, or ceiling panels.

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