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HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning — and in the data center world, it’s a critical tool for ensuring an optimal environment for sensitive IT equipment.

Data center providers rely on high-performance HVAC systems to manage the indoor environment. These systems must be designed to operate with other data center mechanisms such as computing hardware, cabling, data storage, fire protection, physical security systems and power.

In cold climates, central heating is generally used to heat private houses and public buildings. These systems may contain a boiler, furnace or heat pump to heat water, steam or air in a main location such as a furnace room in a home or a mechanical room in a large building.

In warm climates, air conditioning provides cooling, ventilation and humidity control for houses or buildings. These systems may use radiation, convection or heat pump systems to cool the air.

Another important element in the HVAC system is ventilation, which involves replenishing oxygen in any space to maintain temperature or remove unwanted elements such as moisture, heat, dust, bacteria or carbon dioxide. Effective ventilation systems continuously exchange the air inside the building with air from the outside and circulate the air within the building.