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Difference Between HVAC And Air Conditioning

    Difference Between HVAC And AC

    There is no doubt that the modern world relies greatly on HVAC and air conditioning systems. These systems provide the much-needed necessities to ensure the highest level of comfort in commercial, residential, and industrial settings.


    Have you ever asked yourself what makes these systems so important? Probably not, as most people tend to ignore them until they malfunction. With this being the case, it even more crucial than ever to learn about these systems – their similarities, and differences.

    Difference Between HVAC And AC 2024

    Difference Between HVAC And AC

    You will find that HVAC and AC are similar. Nevertheless, there are a few differences between them. AC stands for air conditioning. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. However, it should be noted that both terms can be used interchangeably.

    Whether you’re dealing with a window AC or a mini-split system, you’re working on an AC or HVAC. You can use both terms since neither of them will be wrong.

    What Is Air Conditioning?

    Most people know enough about air conditioning to get themselves into trouble. There are also those that know everything about these systems. These individuals are known as air conditioning technicians. When your air conditioner breaks down, who do you call?

    A certified air conditioning technician who generally works under the supervision of a mechanical engineer. Now, you know about the professionals who work on air conditioning units, it is time to learn more about these systems.

    Air conditioning is a system that is comprised of components and technologies that control both humidity and temperature. There are various air conditioning applications, all of which operate in pretty much the same manner by removing hot or warm air and filling it with cold air.

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    With air conditioning, summer months in most places would be unbearable. With that said, many people living in underdeveloped countries, such as Liberia, South Sudan, Niger, and Sierra Leone, still do not have air conditioning systems in their homes or vehicles.

    How Does Air Conditioning Work?

    How Does Air Conditioning Work?

    Well, let’s start by saying the process is more complex than most people tend to believe. The first air conditioning unit was invented in 1902 by inventor Willis Carrier. If you have any familiarity with air conditioning brands, you should know Carrier.

    The brand is highly popular in the United States, employing around 43,000 workers. Today, Carrier air conditioning units are sold in approximately 170 countries.

    As mentioned above, air conditioning is a complex system comprised of various components and technologies. These systems work by removing warm air from the environment via an onboard grille. As the air is removed, it passes over what is known as “chillers” which are nothing more than pipes filled with refrigerant. During this process, the temperature of the air and ambient humidity decreases significantly. Eventually, the cold air will be pushed back into the home.

    Of course, the cooling process is much more in-depth than this but it gives you the jest of how these systems work. Unlike the HVAC unit, the air conditioning process does not involve ventilation. However, almost all air conditioning systems require ventilation. Portable units, for example, utilize some type of pipe, to vent warm, hot, or a mixture of the air outside.

    Air conditioners also dehumidify by pulling moisture from the environment. This is not a cost-effective way to dehumidify a room but if you are going to run your air conditioner anyways, it will definitely help.

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    What Are They?

    What do HVAC and AC stand for? AC means air conditioning. HVAC takes that one step further. HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. However, it is important to understand that AC is often used to cover all topics. So, you can use AC instead of HVAC and vice versa.

    Various Types Of AC Systems

    It should be noted that there are several types of AC systems. Your options are plentiful but only one type is going to work best for you. Therefore, you need to learn more about each type so you can find the one that will best for you. Just remember that all of these systems are the same. They fit into both categories.

    Central Air Conditioning

    Most homes have central air conditioning systems. These systems can help homeowners heat and cool their homes. They feature indoor and outdoor equipment that is connected via ductwork. Central air conditioning systems can be very expensive but they’ll prove to be worth it. After all, they’re very effective and can last many years if taken care of. If your home has a central air conditioning system, it is wise to get it inspected and maintained by a professional frequently.

    Window Air Conditioners

    Alternatively, you can cool your home using window air conditioners. As the name implies, these units are installed in an open window. While they’re compact, they can cool a small space exceptionally well. Simultaneously, you should know that these window units are inexpensive. You can buy one of these units for a few hundred bucks or so. As long as you choose a good one, it’ll last a few years too.

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    Mini-Split Systems

    Finally, you have mini-split systems. They’re less common than the alternatives but work great. They’re similar to central AC systems but you’re not going to have any ductwork. These systems are more attractive visually so this makes them a good choice for many. On top of that, you won’t have to install any ductwork making things easier for everyone involved.

    Which Do You Have?

    Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you likely have some type of heating and cooling system. However, you may be a bit confused as to which type you have. Are you dealing with an HVAC system or an AC system? Which one do you have?

    This is a trick question since they’re the same thing. When you’re using some type of equipment to cool your home, you’re dealing with an HVAC and AC system. There are no differences here.


    At the end of the day, many people are confused about these terms. With that being said, you should take the time to learn more about both. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see that they’re the same. While one is more in-depth, they cover the same topics. So, you can see that your home or apartment has an HVAC and AC system. You have one system that falls into both categories.