What Does HVAC Stand For?


HVAC is an acronym that stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.”

These are the systems that are used and installed for heating and cooling services in buildings.

HVAC systems include all the devices and parts that are used to control the climate and temperature indoors.

HVAC systems are found in offices, homes, storage facilities, schools, and nearly every building where humans inhabit or work.

These heating and cooling systems are now an industry standard for construction of buildings.

This means that new buildings are required to have HVAC systems. The HVAC systems can control temperature, air regulation, and even humidity.

HVAC is historically significant because prior to modern systems, the job of heating and cooling were divided between different devices. HVAC makes heating and cooling easier to manage since repairs and maintenance is done to one system.

Another abbreviation that can be used is HVACR or HVAC-R. The acronym HVACR means “heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.” 

Who Works with HVAC Systems and Services?

HVAC technicians or those who work to install, fix, and maintain HVAC systems work with furnaces, refrigeration units, freezers, air conditioners, and other indoor climate control systems. These systems include the ducts, piping, thermostats, and vents.

What Kind of Work Do HVAC Technicians Do?

HVAC technicians are licensed and trained to work with liquid refrigerants that operate in freezers, air conditioners, and refrigerants. These can be harmful to people, animals, and the environment, so HVAC technicians. Therefore, technicians hold an EPA license to properly handle, use, and dispose of liquid refrigerants.

Other cooling and heating systems function through oil, gas, or electricity. HVAC technicians are trained to work with these systems. They have an understanding of thermodynamics, or heat dynamics, and electrical engineering.

Is HVAC Services a Good Career?

For those looking to make good career movies, you may want to consider the HVAC profession. Since HVAC systems are an industry-standard in the construction of buildings, HVAC technicians are always needed. In fact, there is a projected growth of 15 per cent over the next ten years.

That is a significant percentage, and it is much higher than any other trade career. It is also a much higher percentage than other careers in general.

You may worry that there is no opportunity for growth in the HVAC field. This simply is not true. In fact, HVAC technicians can improve their value and standings with education, licenses, and certifications.

HVAC systems also develop and advance alongside the technological and mechanical advancements of science. With every-changing cooling and heating systems, HVAC technicians have the opportunity to train in new and complex systems, making them more valuable than those untrained in new HVAC services. Technicians can even get certifications that demonstrate specializations and skills in the field.

What Kind of Certifications and Licenses Can HVAC Techs Get?

Aside from general certifications that certify you as an HVAC technician, some organization offer further licenses and certifications that demonstrate your ability in a specialized field or a specialized skill.

All technicians have to obtain an EPA 608 Certification. This allows technicians to work with the coolants and refrigerants that are dangerous to the environment and people. Understandably, technicians should be trained in certified in handling these materials.

Additionally, technicians must have the licenses and certifications required by their state in order to practice.

Many licenses and certifications are supplementary and add value to the technician and his or her work.

The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) organization offers different certifications that are usually accepted by most industries in the United States. NATE offers 22 different certifications in the field. They are good up to five years, but they give you more value as a technician.

NATE certifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Oil Heating
  • Hydronics Oil
  • Heat Pump (air-to-air)
  • Air Distribution
  • Light Commercial Refrigeration
  • Senior Level Efficiency Analyst
  • Commercial Refrigeration
  • Air Conditioning

What Are the Salaries in the HVAC Services Industry?

Salaries in the HVAC industry depend on your position, experience, and supplementary certifications.

The median pay is $48,000 a year, or around $23 an hour. The highest-paid workers in the HVAC industry earn around $76,000 a year. Again, this salary or wage is truly dependent upon experience, knowledge, and certifications.

Those who are new to the field are usually apprentices. They earn about half of the pay that experienced workers earn. However, their wages increase as they gain more experience.

Obtaining certifications, like those from NATE, can make you more valuable and knowledgeable. Thus, the certifications can allow for pay raises and higher wage earnings. They will also open you up to potentially broader ranges of customers and different HVAC systems. More complex HVAC systems that require specialized skills will clearly require a higher-paid technician.

What Is the Working Environment for HVAC Technicians?

Most HVAC technicians are full-time workers, rather than part-time. A good portion of HVAC technicians are contractors.

Along with weekdays, HVAC technicians can work nights and evenings. Oftentimes, HVAC techs may work irregular and off-hours. They may often work overtime when needed, especially during summer and winter months when HVAC systems are crucial to comfort and survival.

HVAC techs work within and outside of buildings. They must travel to the job site each day, either to construction sites or to buildings that are making a service call.

Some systems are outside, so technicians sometimes must work in the sun or the snow. Many HVAC systems are in basements or crawlspaces. Therefore, technicians sometimes work in damp, crowded and dark spaces. These spaces may also be hot, especially if the cooling system is not working properly or being installed.

HVAC (HVAC-R) technicians also have a high rate of injury and illness. Since they work with electricity, heat, and cramped spaces, there is a higher likelihood of electrical shock, burns, strains, and injury from heavy equipment. Additionally, they work with dangerous chemicals and refrigerants, that can harm skin and eyes if handled improperly.

Learn More About the HVAC Industry

The HVAC industry is one that is important to the function and productivity of society. HVAC systems make us comfortable at home and at work so that we either relax or stay productive.

Technicians may not have a glamorous job, but they have a significant one. Imagine hospitals, schools, and offices without heating and cooling systems. HVAC technicians and systems are crucial to everyday life and comfort.

Working in the HVAC field can be rewarding, and there is always room for potential growth. Whether you are looking into the field or just reading about it, you can take a moment to appreciate your HVAC system and HVAC technicians that make your heating and air conditioning happen.