Eleven Common HVAC Terms You Should Know

HVACThe heating and air conditioning business, much like any other specialized industry, has its own set of terminology. If you are a mechanic, you know what a valve gasket is, and what it does. Maybe you are a dentist, and you are familiar with mouth mirrors, retractors, stainless steel picks and scrapers. If you are an HVAC technician, you are familiar with what a compressor, evaporator, heat pump and split system are.

Chances are, not too many of us are mechanics, dentists or HVAC technicians. Since this is a blog about HVAC terminology, let’s identify eleven common heating and air conditioning terms you should know (in alphabetical order, not order of importance).

Eleven Important HVAC Terms

  1. Air Handler-The indoor blower component of your heat pump system that moves air through your home.
  2. BTU- British Thermal Unit. In scientific terms, it represents the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU is the equivalent of the heat given off by a single wooden kitchen match. For your home, it represents the measure of heat given off when fuel is burned for heating, or the measure of heat extracted from your home for cooling.
  3. Capacity- The output or producing capability of a piece of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and heating capacity are normally referred to in BTUs.
  4. Compressor- The heart of an air conditioning or heat pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit that pumps refrigerant. The compressor maintains adequate pressure to cause refrigerant to flow in sufficient quantities in order to meet the cooling requirements of the system and your home.
  5. Condenser Coil- Located in the outdoor unit, the coil dissipates heat from the refrigerant, changing the refrigerant from vapor to liquid. In American Standard units, the coil is called Spine Fin™.
  6. Furnace- A gas indoor heating and blower unit that works in conjunction with an air conditioner or heat pump.
  7. Heat Pump- An outdoor unit that warms your home in winter and cools your home in summer.
  8. Packaged System- An air conditioning and/or heating system in which all components are located in one cabinet. In the Huntsville/Madison area, many homes built on crawlspaces have packaged systems installed for the main floor beside the home.
  9. Refrigerant- A substance that produces a cooling effect. It’s used in most air conditioning and cooling systems.
  10. SEER- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a rating that measures the cooling efficiency of a heat pump or air conditioner. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
  11. Split System- Refers to a comfort system consisting of components in two locations. Common examples include an outside unit, such as an air conditioner, and an indoor unit, such as a furnace with a coil.

How Many More Terms Are There?

There are hundreds more terms used in the HVAC industry, but these are the most recurring. If you want definitions for more, go to https://bunnshvac.com/glossary-of-hvac-terms/.

If you have questions about your homes comfort system, or, if it’s time to look shop for a new system, give Bunn’s and Bennett Heating and Air Conditioning a call or email us at [email protected]. We’ve been serving Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley as a licensed and insured HVAC dealer for more than 30 years.

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