Learning the Difference Between HVAC and Air Conditioning

Many homes, offices, and public places today have HVAC or air conditioning systems in place. They may seem to be similar, but there’s a thick line between the two terms. Understanding the differences might be the key to avoiding getting lost in all the technical terms and jargon.

1. Definition of Terms

You probably have used the phrases AC and HVAC sometimes without the need to define what these acronyms mean. The two terms are used interchangeably in most common settings but may bring confusion unless one defines their meaning. AC stands for air conditioning, while HVAC is more of a technical acronym used in the air conditioning industry that stands for heating, ventilation, and cooling systems of a home.

AC can also be used to define a single unit of the HVAC system (the cooling half). In most settings, “air conditioning” is used to define a system that conditions or controls the air properties whether cold or hot.

2. What’s the Difference?

Air conditioning defines the whole field of processes, power machines, and appliances used to control the air flow, humidity, smell, and temperature.

Examples of air conditioning systems include:

  • Window AC: Only cools the rooms in which it’s placed
  • Central AC: Controls the temperature of the whole home

3. HVAC Systems Perform the Combined Functions of an Air Conditioner

  • Heating and cooling: Raises temperatures when they fall below a certain threshold and reduces them when they reach a certain predefined limit
  • Ventilation: The addition of fresh air from the environment to the indoor environment through mechanical processes

Examples of HVAC systems are:

  • Heat pumps
  • Thermostats

Understanding the difference between the two terms is essential when you want to purchase an air conditioning unit for your home or office. Honey's Air & Solar provides air conditioning and heating installation, repair, and maintenance services to the Modesto community. We also offer solar installation services as well as those related to improving indoor air quality. When you get lost in between the two terms, give us a call, and we’ll provide you with the answers you need.

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