HVAC Glossary

SEER

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio –each air conditioner and heat pump receives a SEER rating, ranging from 13 to 20.  The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the HVAC unit operates.

Evaporative Cooler

The part of an air conditioner or heat pump that absorbs heat.  In an air conditioner, the heat is pushed outside.  In a heat pump, the heat is used to heat the home.

Ductwork

Air flows through this type of system so that it can be distributed through a home.

Humidity

The amount of water vapor that is in the air.

BTU

British Thermal Unit –one BTU equals one unit of heat energy.  It takes one BTU to raise one pound of water one degree.  When a heating unit has a high BTU, this means it has a high heating capacity.

Carbon Monoxide

When carbon burns in a home without sufficient amounts of air, an odorless and poisonous gas known as carbon monoxide will be released.

Compressor

This is the part of an HVAC unit that pumps refrigerant so that cooling requirements can be met and maintained.

Condenser

Part of an air conditioning unit that gets rid of heat.

Evaporator

This part of an air conditioning unit captures heat and removes it from the part of the unit that needs to be cooled.

Furnace

A device used in homes to put out heat.  It can come as a single unit or be combined with an air conditioning unit, commonly referred to as a central heating and cooling unit.

Geothermal heat pump

A type of central heating and cooling unit that takes heat from the ground and uses it to heat a home.

HVAC

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning –a unit used in a home to heat and cool the inside.

Joule

Basic SI unit of energy.

Latent Heat

This heat is required to transform a liquid into a vapor or vice versa without changing the actual temperature.

MERV Rating

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value –Filters have MERV ratings, which describes how big the holes are in the filters.  A higher MERV rating means the smaller the holes, which translates into higher efficiency.

Refrigerant

A liquid/chemical that’s used in cooling units; this chemical gives off a cooling effect, and it is commonly referred to as Freon.

Split System

When a home has a HVAC unit that has components located both inside and outside of the home, this is known as a split system.

Sensible Heat

When a substance is heated and the temperature itself rises; unlike latent heat where the state of substance changes but the temperature does not.

Static Pressure

The amount of pressure that is exerted on the duct system, but it’s not the pressure coming from any moving air.

Ton

A unit of measurement that is used to identify the cooling capacity of an air conditioning unit.

Ventilator

Part of the HVAC system that ventilates the home.

Watt

The amount of energy that an HVAC uses.  The higher the wattage, the more energy the unit is using.

Zoning

This is a method used in homes when different rooms require different comfort zones.  Zoning provides enhanced heating and cooling, which translates into optimal comfort and efficiency.

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