The Difference Between an HVAC and Furnace



When it comes to heating and cooling your home or business, it can be confusing to understand what different systems can do for you. If you’ve been researching these topics then no doubt you’ve come across these terms – ‘HVAC’ and ‘Furnace.’

But what are these systems, and how do they differ from one another? Below is a concise summary of these two helpful systems, as well as their similarities and differences.

What Is an HVAC?

Despite what some people think, an HVAC isn’t just one machine that heats your home – it is an entire system that controls the heating and cooling inside a building, including both residential and commercial properties. 

‘HVAC’ stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. These are the major functions of the HVAC and the components that keep your home warm and comfortable through the winter, and cool and airy during summer. But the system does more than just heat and cool! It also helps to regulate humidity levels by controlling air movement, as well as providing ventilation to ensure that clean, breathable air is being constantly circulated through the space. Not only does it regulate temperature to keep you comfortable at all times while indoors, but it also helps to keep you healthy!

There are three different types of HVAC systems that work in different ways, including the Split and Window AC, Packaged Heating & Air Conditioning System, and Central AC System.

What Is a Furnace?

A furnace is one of the most common forms of heating systems, and it provides heating by converting fuel into heat, most often propane or natural gas. These gaseous products are ignited inside the furnace. As air travels from inside the building and into the furnace, it is warmed through a heat exchanger inside the furnace, heated by the gases inside.

This warm air is then redirected through the furnace ducts and distributed evenly through the home, keeping it toasty and warm. Furnaces are relatively cheaper to run than electric heating systems making them a popular choice for indoor heating.

A furnace consists of several parts, including a thermostat, draft fan, heat exchanger, burners, blowers, and a flue.


HVAC VS. Furnace

The difference between these two systems is significant, although they both technically do the same thing: heating a building to keep it warm and comfortable in cold weather. 

Of course, the main difference is that a furnace has only one function. As mentioned, it is built to convert fuel into heat and administer it through the home. An HVAC on the other hand operates a wide variety of functions that are used to heat, cool, ventilate, and control the humidity of a building. 

Both of these systems use a thermostat to detect the rising and falling of temperature in a building. But a furnace thermostat only sends a signal to generate either more or less heat. The thermostat in an HVAC system activates systems that can heat your home, but also cool it down, and help to bring in better air circulation and humidity control so you are breathing clean air at all times.

Another significant difference for home and business owners is that an HVAC system, which comprises three or four components, is more complex and thus more difficult to install than a furnace, which is only built for one straightforward purpose. For those same reasons, an HVAC is also going to be more expensive to buy and install.


If you’re considering having an HVAC or furnace installed in your business, you should also consider how much they will cost to maintain and repair, particularly if you’re buying an HVAC. It’s best to find a commercial HVAC repair company in Aurora that you can contact if you have any issues over time.

Both systems are very effective and reliable ways to keep your home warm, but it’s important to be aware of what type will suit you best. You should consider the features, cost, and complexity of both before you make a decision.

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