Does HVAC Include Furnace? All Your Questions about HVAC

HVAC systems are an essential part of any home. The abbreviation stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning—mechanisms most of us can’t imagine living without.

If you’re looking to buy a new HVAC system, you might be feeling somewhat confused. You’re probably also wondering, does HVAC include furnaces?

Yes, HVAC does include a furnace, which does most of the work of heating your home. Below, we’ll bring you up to speed on just what an HVAC system is and what role a furnace plays in it.

Table of Contents

What Is HVAC?

The abbreviation HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. An HVAC system is tasked with the cooling and heating of a household or workplace. It ensures that you’re warm in winter and cool in summer.

Furthermore, it checks humidity levels and filters the air so you can breathe easily and healthily. From air conditioners and furnaces to thermostats and ductwork, the make-up of an HVAC system is quite complex. Let’s look at the different components.

Essential Parts of Your HVAC System

These are the main constituents of your HVAC system;

Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner

As you already know, an air conditioner is responsible for keeping the air in your home cool and comfortable. It does this by sucking out the hot air in your house and transferring it outside.

For residential purposes, a split air conditioning system is most effective. In the case of a commercial building, a vented air conditioning system is best.



The furnace is the mechanism that produces and distributes heat in your home, keeping you warm. An HVAC furnace consists of a burner (responsible for delivering and burning fuel), a heat exchanger, a blower, and a flue (which works as an exhaust).

Heat Pump

Heat Pump

An alternative to the furnace for those of you living in milder climates is the heat pump. In contrast to the furnace, the heat pump heats a building’s interiors using outside air. The same method is used in cooling.

Air Handler

Air Handler

If your HVAC system includes a heat pump, it probably also comes with an air handler. The job of the air handler is to circulate air throughout the building it’s installed in. If you’re more interested in installing a furnace or air conditioner, an air handler is not required.



As the name might suggest, an HVAC’s ductwork is the system of ducts that transfer the air that the HVAC system inputs and outputs. Ductwork can be made of either synthetic or metal tubes. Ductwork must be properly installed and maintained regularly in order to enjoy optimal air quality.



The thermostat in an HVAC system is essentially a temperature sensor connected to the entire HVAC system, which can regulate itself accordingly. It decides when your AC or heater should be activated or turned off in simpler terms.

Some HVAC systems come with multiple thermostats to control different zones. You also have the option to set the temperature yourself, of course.

HVAC Heating and Cooling Terms

Here’s a little glossary to help you understand HVAC systems better;


This is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of your furnace’s heat to energy conversion efficiency. It’s short for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.


This stands for heating seasonal performance factor, a ratio that indicates heat pump efficiency. An HSPF equal to or greater than 8 or more is considered highly efficient.


Short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, this measures the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner.

Split System

It is an indoor cooling system consisting of both an indoor and outdoor unit that is seen most commonly in people’s homes.

Packaged System

This refers to housing an entire HVAC system in a single cabinet.

Heating Stages

This indicates how many settings your furnace/heat pump has.

Cooling Stages

This indicates how many settings your heat pump/AC has.

Energy Star®

Run jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star is a certification that allows consumers to find energy-efficient products.

Difference between an HVAC System and Furnace

Some HVAC buyers wonder whether they should buy an entire HVAC system or just a furnace. While an HVAC system includes cooling as well as heating mechanisms, a furnace only has the capability to regulate the heat with the help of a thermostat and gas/oil fuel. So as you can see, it depends on one’s needs.

Final Words

So, does HVAC include furnaces? As we have seen, a furnace is essential to an HVAC system that does not use a heat pump. We wish you good luck on your hunt for a new furnace or HVAC system!