Unless you are a professional technician, it is difficult to differentiate between the terms HVAC and AC. Aren’t they both the same? Is a furnace part of an HVAC system? Is AC and HVAC the same thing? You’re not the only person who gets confused after hearing this lingo. What you need to know is that these are acronyms that are used to denote the electrical systems that regulate heat and cool air on your property.

At Island Heating & Air Conditioning, we get this question from our customers, especially those who want to invest in these systems for the first time. Here are some differences that will help you to distinguish between the two terms and help you make a sound buying decision.

Component Difference

What is the difference between HVAC and air conditioningSo, first things first. Let’s start with “HVAC”. HVAC is an acronym that stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It is an all-inclusive package that makes our living areas comfortable. As you can see, an HVAC system regulates the heat inside the houses and conditions air inside our rooms. On the other hand, the air conditioner mostly referred to as AC, is primarily used in air conditioning. It is that aspect of the entire HVAC system that regulates air inside the building.

So, while “HVAC” refers to the entire system, “AC” just refers to your air conditioner. Part of the confusion is when “HVAC system” gets thrown around when someone is really referring to a heat pump or furnace, for example. It’s often easier to just say HVAC system, but it’s not always specific enough. If you already have an air conditioner you love but don’t have reliable whole-home heating, you don’t need an HVAC system. Your HVAC system is just lacking the heating part of things! In this case, adding a furnace or heat pump would make plenty of sense. If you need a complete overhaul or addition of both heating and cooling, using the term HVAC system would make plenty of sense.

Functional Difference

It’s pretty simple: an air conditioning system is specifically made to regulate the air inside the room. It has evaporators and duct systems that help it radiate hot air from the house and connect it to the outside, through tubes. It has a condenser that aids in cooling hot air from the outside and channeling it into the house for cooling purposes.

On the other hand, an HVAC system is comprehensive electrical equipment that can perform all the tasks, which may include heating, cooling, ventilating and even air conditioning. Some HVAC systems have been modernized so that they sense heat and weather changes and regulate air without your input. Any time we’re talking about your HVAC system, it’s the entirety of the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems that regulate temperature and airflow throughout a property. If we’re just saying AC, it’s only the air conditioning components of your HVAC system.

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What About A Heater?

Heating systems are the other important part of a complete HVAC system. In most homes with central heating and cooling, especially in our colder climate here in Washington, you’ll have a central forced-air furnace. It’s almost guaranteed that your furnace and air conditioner use not just the same vents to distribute air, but also the same filter. Depending on the type of system, fans and other components can be shared. If you have a heat pump, the same system actually handles both the heating and cooling tasks! In the case of a heat pump, the heat pump is pretty much the whole HVAC system. Of course, there are plenty of other systems and arrangements you might find in an HVAC system. Geothermal heat pumps, ductless systems, and dual-fuel systems are just some of the less common setups that can be designed and implemented in a home to regulate temperature.

Your Local HVAC Team

You don’t have to be an HVAC expert to enjoy the best that heating and cooling technology has to offer. You just need to know our name! While it’s always great to learn more about the systems that keep you comfortable, you can leave all of the technical jargon and know-how to us. We are a highly professional team with decades of combined experience and extensive training, all things that we put to use to keep you cozy in your home.

If you feel that your HVAC systems are not operating as you would have expected, Island Heating & Air Conditioning in Oak Harbor, WA, is here to help you. We can help in indoor air quality, duct cleaning, furnace repair and much more. Call us for a scheduled appointment.

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February 20, 2019 10:05 pm