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December 05, 2022

What Is the Difference between an HVAC and an Air Conditioning System?

HVAC & Air Conditioning System - LG Home Comfort

Would you like to know the difference between HVAC and AC systems? Then, this post is for you. Understanding the difference between these two air systems is vital for any homeowner or business owner looking to upgrade their heating and cooling needs. Let us take a closer look at both HVAC and air conditioning systems so that you can decide which system is suitable for your home or office.

What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This type of system is responsible for moving air between indoor and outdoor areas, as well as heating and cooling residential and commercial buildings. An HVAC system helps keep us comfortable in all weather conditions by regulating temperature levels throughout our homes or businesses. An HVAC unit can also filter the air inside a building, maintain optimal humidity levels for comfortability, and keep you healthy by removing dirt particles from the air you breathe.

What Does an HVAC Do?

Most people know the HVAC benefits include climate control and improved air quality, but only a few know exactly how HVAC systems work. In order to provide acceptable indoor air quality, an HVAC system needs to do three things: take in air, condition the air, and circulate the air.

Taking in the air is usually done through a vent or ductwork. The size and number of vents depend on the space that needs to be cooled or heated. Once the air is taken in, it is time to condition it. This is where the actual work of an HVAC system happens.

  • First, the air is filtered to remove dust, pollen, and other particles.
  • Then, it is either cooled or heated, depending on the season and the temperature inside the building.
  • Finally, the conditioned air is circulated throughout the space by a fan.

All these processes start with a thermostat, which senses the air temperature in the space. If the thermostat is set to “cool,” the HVAC system will take in air from the area, lower its temperature, and blow the cooled air back into the room. If the thermostat is set to “heat,” the process works in reverse, with the HVAC system taking in cold air and blowing warm air back into the space. In either case, the goal is to improve indoor air quality.

What is AC or Air Conditioning System?

The air conditioning process involves controlling the airflow temperature, humidity, and purity in an enclosed area. The primary purpose of air conditioning is to provide comfort for people living or working in that space by creating and maintaining optimal temperature, humidity, and air purity conditions. Air conditioning systems can be used for residential and commercial applications and come in various sizes and configurations. In most buildings, the central air conditioners are the most widely used air conditioning system, which circulates the cooled air throughout a building through a system of ducts. Other types of AC unit include portable units, window air conditioning units, ductless systems, and split systems.

Air conditioning equipment is a vital part of many people’s lives and helps to create a comfortable environment in which to work or live.

How Does an AC System Work?

Do you know what goes on inside your air-conditioner when it is running? It may seem like a complex system, but it is actually quite simple. We will break down the basics of how do AC units work and explain each step in the process. So let’s dive in.

Step #1: The Thermostat Signals The Need For Cooling

When you first turn on your AC, you set the desired temperature via the thermostat. This triggers the sensors to determine your home’s temperature. A thermostat will begin the cooling cycle if the surrounding temperature is higher than the desired temperature.

Step #2: The Refrigerant Absorbs Heat From Indoor Air

The refrigerant absorbs heat from the inside air, entering the evaporator coil in the indoor unit. This vaporizes the liquid refrigerant, which fans cool down and cools down even more hot air throughout your home.

Step #3: Fans Blow Back Cooler Air To The House

Once the evaporator coils have generated this fresh air, fans are used to blow it back into your home. As this happens, the refrigerant absorbs more heat, which then turns back into a liquid form.

Step #4: Heat Within The Refrigerant Is Released Outdoors

The heat must be released outside when the refrigerant absorbs too much heat and reaches its limit. To dissipate the heat, it travels through the condenser coils in the outdoor unit. As long as the refrigerant is hotter than the outdoor environment, it will continue to release heat. It will only stop when a balancing point is reached.

Step #5: Fans Blow The Hot Air To The Surroundings

Air is blown across the condenser coils to cool the refrigerant further. This enables heat to move from the indoors to the outdoors much faster. The outdoor unit’s surroundings will also get hotter as a result, which you can evidence by going near it and feeling the radiating heat. However, the heat will dissipate quickly in the wind since it is in an open area. Your house can keep releasing indoor heat via the air conditioner to its surrounding area without any issue.

Step #6: The Cold Refrigerant Goes Back To The Indoor Unit

This happens when the refrigerant hits its equilibrium point, and the compressor pumps it back into the indoor unit. The AC will continue this cycle until the thermostat sensors detect that the indoor temperature has reached the set temperature. Once this happens, the AC will stop and rest until the temperature in your house rises again. The AC will automatically restart the cooling system when this happens.

What’s The Difference Between HVAC and AC?

Most people think an HVAC unit and an AC unit are the same, but they are not. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the differences:

The HVAC system consists of three main components – a furnace, a heat pump, and an air conditioner. The furnace heats air and circulates it throughout your home, the heat pumps help regulate the air’s temperature, and the air conditioner cools the air. On the other hand, AC units only have one component – the air conditioner.

Another key difference is that HVAC units are typically larger and more complex than AC units. This is because they have many components that require much space and need to circulate a large volume of air.


On a simpler note, HVAC equipment heats, cools, and ventilates your home, whereas an AC unit only cools your home. At first glance, the differences between HVAC and air conditioning systems may seem confusing. However, once you understand what each system does, you can decide which option best suits your needs based on where you live.

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on why these two types of climate control systems exist and how they work differently.

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