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What is the difference between AC and HVAC?

What is the difference between AC and HVAC?

What is the difference between AC and HVAC?“AC” and “HVAC” are often used interchangeably, but they do not always reference the same thing. AC stands for air conditioning, and HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Both are essential components of home comfort. Sometimes you will see the acronym as HVAC-R or HVACR. In these instances, the R will stand for refrigeration.

What is HVAC?

HVAC is an acronym that represents heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC systems are used to regulate the temperature and humidity of indoor spaces. Whether you are discussing a furnace, air conditioner, or ductwork, it can be covered by the term HVAC. This is why you would refer to your entire home comfort system as your HVAC system and not just an air conditioner.

Why AC and HVAC Are Different

AC stands for air conditioning. This means an actual air conditioner will only be a condenser, indoor fan, and coil. When referencing an AC, you will only be referencing the components directly related to cooling, not any other aspect of your comfort system.

However, when discussing an HVAC system, you could be referencing your ductwork, air conditioner, heater, or all of them together as one system, as most homes have an HVAC system because they also contain a heating source and a ventilation system.

Today’s HVAC System

Today’s HVAC systems are made up of several components. Each component is designed to work with one another to provide the best possible cooling, heating, and ventilation in your home or office. The components include:

  • A heat source like a furnace or boiler
  • An air handler that distributes conditioned air throughout your home
  • A thermostat that controls the amount of heat needed in each room based on temperature set points set by you
  • A condenser utilizes refrigerant to pull the heat from your home and release it outside

One of the essential parts of an effective HVAC system is its ductwork. Ducts are made up of metal with holes punched into them. Air moves through these holes when heated or cooled by an appliance such as a furnace. Ducts distribute conditioned air throughout your home by running through places such as attics and basements.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are essential to creating a comfortable home environment.

Many HVAC systems are available today, such as central air conditioning, gas furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, and ductless systems. Knowing what kind of unit you need can help you choose one that’ll fit perfectly with all aspects of your home.

Contact 365 Mechanical For Your Next HVAC System

What is the difference between AC and HVACIf you require a new HVAC system, call us at 365 Mechanical today. We provide a full-service HVAC installation to Mesa, AZ, and the surrounding areas. Whether it’s time for a new gas or electric furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump, our team of experienced HVAC contractors can help! We offer free estimates on all work done so that you know exactly what your costs will be before we start any work on your home or business property.


We hope this article has benefited your understanding of the difference between AC and HVAC. If you want to learn more about heating, ventilation, or air conditioning systems in general, contact 365 Mechanical at (847) 600-6560 to schedule an appointment with one of our experts today!

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