What’s the Difference between HVAC and AC Systems

The differences between an HVAC and AC system confuse many homeowners. Some contractors even use the terms HVAC and AC interchangeably which adds to the confusion.

There are several differences between the two, and many homeowners remain unsure about which one they should invest in. Researching different aspects of HVAC and AC systems isn’t exactly fun either. However, it is really important to know these differences in order to avoid making the wrong choice.


The term HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The whole system usually includes a furnace, air-conditioning unit, ducts as well as vents that release moisture from the building. The function of an HVAC is to provide cooling and heating to the building, in addition to ventilation in order to keep the moisture level low.

Therefore, an HVAC can be considered an AC system, but not all ACs are HVAC systems.

AC Unit

AC stands for air conditioning and is referred to any system that is designed to cool down the air in a building. The reason why many people use the terms HVAC and AC interchangeably is because they are referring to a system that conditions the air in the building, whether hot or cold.

In simple terms, AC systems are designed to cool the air, while HVAC are designed to heat/cool the air and push the moisture out the vents.

Types of HVAC Systems

HVAC systems come in four different types. However, two of them are more popular than the others: Split systems and packaged systems.

Split Systems

Split systems are the most commonly used HVAC systems in USA. They come with a furnace, a coil and a condensing unit. They are quite efficient as well as economical, but require a crawlspace and an attic for installation.

Packaged Systems

For homes and buildings that do not have crawlspace or an attic, a packaged system is more suitable. The components of packaged HAVC system include fan coil, air-conditioning unit, heat pumps, thermostats and evaporator.

All the components come in a box setting that is easier to install.

Different Types of AC System

There are three main types of AC systems that are available today: Window units, central air conditioning and split systems.

Window Unit

Window units are compact systems that are installed in windows. They are one of the cheapest options available, but aren’t necessarily the most economical.

They are a great choice for small spaces, such as studio apartments.

Central Air Conditioning

Central Air conditioning systems are more commonly used in USA. They include an indoor and outdoor unit, which are connected through intricate ductwork. They are a significant investment and usually last for more than 20 years.

Split Systems

Split systems also have an indoor and outdoor unit, but are not connected through ductwork. They are more affordable option as compared to the central air conditioning system.

Looking for HVAC and AC systems in Huntsville, AL? We offer some of the best residential HVAC products, along with installation and repair.

Call (256) 585-2550 or visit our website to get in touch.

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