Heating, ventilating,and air conditioning is based on inventions
and discoveries made by Michael Faraday, Willis Carrier, Reuben Trane,
James Joule, William Rankine, Sadi Carnot, and many others.
HVAC (pronounced either "H-V-A-C" or "aitch-vak") is an acronym that stands for the closely related functions of "Heating,
Ventilating, and Air Conditioning"- the technology of indoor environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a major 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 ventilating is dropped as in HACR (such as the designation
of HACR-rated circuit breakers). HVAC is particularly important in the design of medium to large industrial and office buildings such
as skyscrapers and in marine environments such as aquariums, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with temperature and humidity, as well as "fresh air" from outdoors.
The invention of the components of HVAC systems went hand-in-hand with the industrial revolution, and new methods of modernization, higher efficiency, and system control are constantly introduced by companies and inventors all over the world. The three central functions of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning are interrelated, providing thermal comfort, acceptable indoor air quality, within reasonable installation, operation, and maintenance costs. HVAC systems can provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. How air is delivered to, and removed from spaces is known as room air distribution.
In modern buildings the design, installation, and control systems of these functions are integrated into one or more HVAC systems. For very small buildings, contractors normally "size" and select HVAC systems and equipment. For larger buildings, building services designers and engineers, such as mechanical, architectural, or building services engineers analyze, design, and specify the HVAC systems, and specialty mechanical contractors build and commission them. Building permits and code-compliance inspections of the installations are normally required for all sizes of buildings.
The HVAC industry is a worldwide enterprise, with career opportunities including operation and maintenance, system design and construction, equipment manufacturing and sales, and in education and research. The HVAC industry had been historically regulated by the manufacturers of HVAC equipment, but Regulating and Standards organizations such as CIBSE, ASHRAE, SMACNA, ACCA, Uniform Mechanical Code, International Mechanical Code, and AMCA have been established to support the industry and encourage high standards and achievement.