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Do I Need an AC Unit or an HVAC System? What Is the Difference?

There is a lot of jargon in the air conditioning industry that can be challenging for homeowners to decipher. One of the most common questions that we hear is, What’s the difference between an AC unit and an HVAC system? If this is something that has been on your mind, you are not alone!

What is the main difference between an HVAC and AC unit?

Today, these two names are used loosely and have almost become one, even though there is a distinct difference. People use the term HVAC System and AC or Air Conditioning System to talk about the equipment that heats and cools their home. However, an AC system Air Conditions only and an HVAC system is the system that Heats, Ventilates and Air Conditions your home.

What is an HVAC unit?

Tools for HVAC maintenance

“HVAC” stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. When discussing the components of your home as a whole, you would use the term “HVAC system” because the entire system heats, cools and ventilates the hot or cold air in your home.

When heating and air conditioning professionals talk about “HVAC units,” they are talking about the equipment that does the heating, the cooling, or both (because HVACs do all of these things).

What is an AC unit?

In contrast to the full HVAC unit or HVAC system, an “air conditioning unit” refers exclusively to the system that cools your home. Some contractors use the terms “AC” and “HVAC” interchangeably, which is one reason why homeowners get confused.

When AC systems were first built, they cooled the home and relied on a gas or oil furnace to heat the home. Today, there are several different types of Air Conditioning (AC) systems. These include Air Conditioners which rely on a gas furnace for heat, Heat Pump Systems which have components that can heat your home using only electricity, and Geothermal Systems which use the ground to both heat and cool your home.

Which one do you need?

Each home is different and each type of system has its own set of pros and cons. We offer free quotes for installing a new HVAC system or replacing your current system. We would be happy to discuss all of your options so that you can make the best decision for your home and your family.

For more information on all things heating and air conditioning, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are available for 24-hour support.