Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

How to Tell the Real Difference Between HVAC and AC

If you often confuse HVAC and AC, you’re not alone. Even HVAC contractors and builders often use these terms interchangeably because they work with both heating and air-conditioning systems. To find out the difference between the terms, read on.


HVAC is Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning in full. An HVAC unit is an all-inclusive package. The unit heats and cools the air inside your home and provides ventilation to facilitate the escape of moisture.

Your HVAC unit comprises your furnace, air-conditioning unit, ductwork, and vents that release moisture. A heat pump provides both heating and cooling. Therefore, it’s more or less an HVAC system. There are several other systems and arrangements that can be implemented in your home to function as HVAC systems, such as dual-fuel systems and ductless systems.


Air conditioning or AC refers to the system designed to cool your home’s air. AC is your HVAC system’s air-conditioning components. While HVAC and AC can exist within the same unit, not all AC units qualify as HVAC units.

Suppose your home already has a dependable air conditioner but lacks a reliable heating system. In that case, you would probably need a reliable whole-home heating system, such as a furnace, but not an HVAC system. If you require a total overhaul or both a heating and a cooling system, then, in that case, you would need a new HVAC system.

In summary, your AC unit only cools your house, but your HVAC unit consists of comprehensive electrical equipment that can heat, cool, and ventilate your home. If you have more questions about HVAC and AC units, don’t hesitate to contact the trained professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. We’ve been offering a variety of heating and cooling products and services to homeowners in the Yuma area for more than 70 years.