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HVAC Glossary: AC & Heater Service

HVAC Glossary: AC & Heater Service

  • AFUE: Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measure of furnace heating efficiency. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace.

  • Air Handler: The indoor part of an air conditioner or heat pump that moves cooled or heated air throughout the ductwork of your home. An air handler is usually a furnace or a blower coil.

  • Blower Fan: The blower fan moves air from the return duct over the coil / heat exchanger. The circulated air is then heated or cooled and sent through the supply duct, past the dampers and into your home.

  • BTU: British Thermal Unit. A measurement of heat energy. One Btu is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the Btu rating, the greater the heating capacity of the system.

  • Compressor: The part of an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump that compresses and pumps refrigerant to meet household cooling requirements.

  • Condenser: The condenser is a device in an air conditioner or heat pump where the refrigerant condenses from a gas into a liquid when it is depressurized or cooled.

  • Damper: A movable plate, located in the ductwork, that regulates airflow and directs it to areas that need it most. Typically used in a zoning application.

  • Ducts: The method by which air is channeled from the furnace or the blower coil throughout your home.

  • Forced Air HVAC System: Any HVAC system that uses a fan to blow conditioned air through air channels or ducts.

  • Heat Pump: An HVAC unit that heats or cools by moving heat. During the winter, a heat pump draws heat from outdoor air and circulates it through a home's air ducts. In the summer, it reverses the process and removes heat from the house and releases it outdoors.

  • Heat Strip: A supplemental heat source for the heat pump that is used when the heat pump can no longer pull enough heat from outside to meet the heating load of the house. The heat comes from electrical resistance heat.

  • HEPA Filters: High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filters. HEPA filters are the most effective air filters available and are commonly found in high-end air cleaners.

  • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. The heating efficiency rating for heat pumps. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump.

  • MERV Rating: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Describes the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes in the filter and the higher the efficiency.

  • Packaged Unit: A heating and cooling system contained in one outdoor unit.

  • Refrigerant: A chemical that produces a cooling effect while expanding or vaporizing.

    • R-22 Refrigerant: The old standard for residential air conditioners, now being phased out by the U.S. EPA.

  • Return Air: “Used” air that is returning to your HVAC system to be reconditioned.

  • Return Duct: A duct through which return air goes to be cycled back through your HVAC system.

  • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating measures the cooling efficiency of your air conditioning and heat pump. It is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. The higher the unit's SEER rating, the more energy efficient the equipment is.

  • Supply Duct: A duct through which conditioned air flows into your room

  • Ton: Unit of measurement for determining cooling capacity. One ton equals 12,000 Btuh.

  • Zoning System: A heating and cooling system that creates customized temperature zones throughout the home for increased comfort and efficiency.

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