What is The Difference Between AC and HVAC?

Air Conditioning and Heating, or AC and HVAC systems, are two different entities. They both serve to make your home more comfortable in the summer and winter months, but they do so by using different methods. Therefore, the best way to know if you need one or the other is to understand what each system does.


There are a couple of definitions for AC and HVAC systems. If you hear someone mention these acronyms, do not be confused about what they mean. There is no need to call the professionals or look up an answer online.

AC stands for air conditioning, and HVAC means heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, and the equipment used to control them. It is important to note that both of these terms refer to indoor climate conditions.

Special Features

HVAC systems are found in homes, while AC is usually used for commercial or large-scale buildings.

Both HVAC and AC have different features that make them unique. For example, both HVAC and AC provide heating, cooling, and air ventilation inside the building. Thus, they serve to maintain a comfortable environment for living or working space. However, the difference between HVAC vs. AC lies in some unique features:

HVAC works by using a condenser or refrigerator that absorbs and emits heat as needed; this changes according to where on earth you're located. Air conditioners use evaporative cooling such as water to relieve high temperatures under similar conditions.

How they Work

HVAC systems use a refrigerant that changes state between liquid and gas as it moves through coils in your house's ductwork system. They absorb heat from one area and then transfer it into another location like outdoors when releasing hot air out vents or back into an indoor space like a crawl space during colder months.

AC systems use a refrigerant in a gaseous state, which does not change conditions as the gas moves through coils. There are two different types of Air conditioner units; one works by drawing air out of your house and cooling it. Another type draws outside air into your home, cools then releases hot air back outside.


A/C and HVAC are both types of equipment that provide cooling or heating. The difference between AC vs. HVAC is primarily based on the voltage used to power them and how they operate mechanically within a building. In general terms, A/C units use "low" voltage electricity.

However, high-voltage systems require more powerful compressors that contain two separate electric motors, one for the compressor and another for a fan. In addition, the more powerful compressors are very loud because they need to spin much faster to make the air colder.

When To Use Each

AC is used for homes and buildings where the indoor temperature needs to be controlled. ACS works best in moderate climates because they are not designed to handle extreme hot or cold weather conditions.  However, HVAC systems can keep your home at a comfortable temperature no matter what sort of climate you live in.


AC and HVAC are two words that can refer to the same thing, but they are different. The main difference between AC vs. HVAC is their operating voltage, which affects how each system functions. You also have several other factors such as design, efficiency levels, and more under consideration when evaluating these systems for use in your home or office space.