HVAC vs AC (What’s The Difference)

hvac vs ac

The team at Same Day Pros has collaborated to bring you a comprehensive guide to HVAC services.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the difference between HVAC vs AC and how it affects your home or business, as well as how to choose a new type of unit for your needs.

Does HVAC Include Air Conditioning?

Yes, HVAC services include air conditioning units. Typically, this only includes permanent in-home cooling units like central air, but professionals may also provide services for portable or window units in some cases.

While some HVAC technicians may specialize in a certain aspect of HVAC, it is common for these experts to have some knowledge on each unit type. (1)

“Despite the name, HVAC doesn’t have anything to do with vacuuming.”

Forbes.com

HVAC is an acronym that stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Technicians in this area are well versed in residential or commercial systems like ducts, boilers, and air conditioning systems.

Sometimes in the commercial space, these technicians may advertise their services as HVACR, which includes commercial or industrial refrigeration as well.

For the common household, however, cooling, heating, and ventilation are all quiet but essential parts of the home that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Maintaining these units are critical to keeping the home comfortable and safe, and preventing the need for emergency repairs if something breaks unexpectedly.

Need Air Conditioner Repair? Find a Technician Near You

It can be difficult to find a professional who can help you with the type of air conditioner repair you need, while ensuring they are legitimate technicians who are licensed and insured.

At Same Day Pros, we’ve done the work for you, helping match you with the right professionals in your area. Suddenly, finding reliable pros in your area is easy. Just type in what services you need and where you’re looking for it, and we’ll find them for you.

What’s the Difference Between HVAC and AC?

Curious about the difference between HVAC vs AC?

AC – or air conditioning – refers only to the cooling units within the home or business, while HVAC includes these units alongside ventilation and heating systems.

When you are looking for HVAC services, these technicians are well versed in the various systems that span the entire home. This is especially true for ventilation systems which need to be cleaned regularly, and often reach every room in the house.

Air conditioning repair refers to a specialized technician who is only providing services to the cooling system in the home or business. This means that while heating and ventilation is not covered by the scope of their services, they are more likely to be familiar with complex problems with the cooling system.

While these two services overlap, it is always recommended to choose a specialized professional when dealing with problems with a specific unit type.

If the issue spans multiple systems or requires ductwork, an HVAC technician may be better suited to your needs.

Know the Difference: What is an HVAC Unit?

When you first hear the term “HVAC unit” you might find yourself wondering where you can find it in the building.

If so, you’re not alone in thinking this. Many residents and business owners are confused by what an HVAC unit is, thinking it’s a separate unit within the building that controls each of these systems.

Unfortunately, while a separate unit to control each system might resolve a lot of problems for the technician, this is not true. There is no such thing as an “HVAC unit” as a standalone unit.

An HVAC unit simply refers to any unit or system in the home or business that is a part of the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system.

This generalized term is used when referring to the overall and complete system, as they each play a role in the air quality and temperature control of the building.

What is the Labor Demand for HVAC Technicians?

Overall, the labor demand for HVAC technicians is growing across the United States as more commercial and residential land is developed, the population grows, and older heating and cooling units are replaced with whole-building units.

In the debate between HVAC vs AC, however, some professionals may find themselves wondering if they should specialize down to capitalize on the growing demand, or if they should continue working with HVAC as a whole system.

Generalized HVAC technicians may see an increase in demand, however, there are more workers to go around in this industry as well, which can saturate the market for new competitors in the market.

AC repair technicians on the other hand may not see as much demand, but fewer workers specialize down to compete in the air conditioning-only market.

In the end, the results balance out rather well, and the overall increase in demand is promising for both specialized and generalized professionals.

Different Types of Equipment Have Different Maintenance Needs

Some homes don’t have air conditioning units, while others might rely on geothermal temperature control.

Likewise, not every home will have the same type of HVAC unit; for example, homes in southern states are more likely to have central air conditioning, while northern states may only have window units.

The different type of equipment the home or business has will determine the maintenance needs, extent of the repairs, and how frequently they should be serviced.

Portable window units, for example, may not need to see servicing very often, with many going 10-15 yeas without any problems arising.

Boilers, on the other hand, should be serviced every year to prevent mishaps when using natural gas, while electrical heating units may only need to be serviced every other year.

To determine the needs of your individual HVAC system, contact a professional near you to ensure they are in good working order.

How Long Does HVAC Last?

Unfortunately, as convenient as it would be, HVAC systems don’t last forever. These units only run seasonally, but when they do, it is consistent to maintain a comfortable temperature within the home.

This consistent use wears on the machinery even when it is serviced regularly. Depending on the type of unit and the usage it sees throughout the year, most HVAC units last anywhere from 15 to 25 years within a typical residential home.

Other factors, such as overall quality of the original parts and how well repairs are made can also play into the life expectancy of any single unit, making it important to choose a certified and insured technicians whenever possible.

While there are guides online to do your own repairs, it is common for DIY work to not only void manufacturer warranties, but also leave residents with a costlier repair bill than if they had had it repaired by a professional in the first place.

Basic Residential HVAC or AC Options

There are several different types of HVAC and AC systems available to the residential homeowner, and each one comes with pros and cons.

Depending on how your home is set up and what type of energy you want to use for your heating and cooling, different options might be a better solution for you.

Central Air Conditioning and Heating 

Ranging from $3,000 to $8,000 for installation, this is a mid-tier solution for starting costs, but makes up for it in efficiency.

Central cooling and heating is popular especially in hotter climates. It is easy to replace different parts of these units with relative ease without having to do additional repair work or modifications on other areas of the home as well.

The main drawback to this system is that it requires ductwork, and it is known for dispersing allergens and dust throughout the home, making it essential to change the air filter in the cooling unit frequently.

Ductless HVAC System

Between $3,000 and $5,000 for installation, this system is less expensive than a new central HVAC system.

A ductless HVAC system includes a small unit in every room, and is highly energy-efficient for saving on costs. No additional infrastructure is necessary when installing these systems, so if your home does not currently have ducts, you will not need a complete revamp of the home.

Areas in cold climates tend to have difficulty with these units however, as they are low efficiency when it comes to heating. Parts can also be difficult to come by, so it is advised to consult with a local HVAC company on the availability of parts and services before installing this system.

Geothermal Heat Pump Installation

Ranging between $20,000 and $30,000 for the initial installation, this system has the most expensive starting cost, but typically saves the homeowner on energy costs over time as the system is highly efficient.

This is also the most sustainable source of heating and cooling you can temperature control your home with, helping the environment a little while you stay cozy year-round.

Not every home will be able to take advantage of this system as some of it depends on the layout of the surrounding land the house is on.

References:

  1. Forbes.com, What Is An HVAC System and How Does It Work?, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/how-do-hvac-systems-work/

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