Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. HVAC system design is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. “Refrigeration” is sometimes added to the field’s abbreviation, as HVAC&R or HVACR, or “ventilation” is dropped, as in HACR (as in the designation of HACR-rated circuit breakers).
HVAC is an important part of residential structures such as single family homes, apartment buildings, hotels and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, on ships and submarines, and in marine environments, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.
Ventilating or ventilation (the V in HVAC) is the process of exchanging or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality which involves temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases. Ventilation removes unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduces outside air, keeps interior building air circulating, and prevents stagnation of the interior air.
Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Methods for ventilating a building may be divided into mechanical/forced and natural types.
The HVAC industry is a worldwide enterprise, with roles including operation and maintenance, system design and construction, equipment manufacturing and sales, and in education and research. The HVAC industry was historically regulated by the manufacturers of HVAC equipment, but regulating and standards organizations such as HARDI, ASHRAE, SMACNA, ACCA, Uniform Mechanical Code, International Mechanical Code, and AMCA have been established to support the industry and encourage high standards and achievement.
The starting point in carrying out an estimate both for cooling and heating depends on the exterior climate and interior specified conditions. However, before taking up the heat load calculation, it is necessary to find fresh air requirements for each area in detail, as pressurization is an important consideration.
ISO 16813:2006 is one of the ISO building environment standards. It establishes the general principles of building environment design. It takes into account the need to provide a healthy indoor environment for the occupants as well as the need to protect the environment for future generations and promote collaboration among the various parties involved in building environmental design for sustainability. ISO16813 is applicable to new construction and the retrofit of existing buildings.
The building environmental design standard aims to:
- Provide the constraints concerning sustainability issues from the initial stage of the design process, with building and plant life cycle to be considered together with owning and operating costs from the beginning of the design process;
- Assess the proposed design with rational criteria for indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustical comfort, visual comfort, energy efficiency and HVAC system controls at every stage of the design process;
- Iterate decisions and evaluations of the design throughout the design process.
The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) was established to promote the HVAC industry in India. ISHRAE is an associate of ASHRAE. ISHRAE was started at Delhi in 1981 and a chapter was started in Bangalore in 1989. Between 1989 & 1993, ISHRAE chapters were formed in all major cities in India
All modern air conditioning systems, even small window package units, are equipped with internal air filters. These are generally of a lightweight gauzy material, and must be replaced or washed as conditions warrant. For example, a building in a high dust environment, or a home with furry pets, will need to have the filters changed more often than buildings without these dirt loads. Failure to replace these filters as needed will contribute to a lower heat exchange rate, resulting in wasted energy, shortened equipment life, and higher energy bills; low air flow can result in iced-over evaporator coils, which can completely stop air flow. Additionally, very dirty or plugged filters can cause overheating during a heating cycle, and can result in damage to the system or even fire.
Because an air conditioner moves heat between the indoor coil and the outdoor coil, both must be kept clean. This means that, in addition to replacing the air filter at the evaporator coil, it is also necessary to regularly clean the condenser coil. Failure to keep the condenser clean will eventually result in harm to the compressor, because the condenser coil is responsible for discharging both the indoor heat (as picked up by the evaporator) and the heat generated by the electric motor driving the compressor.