HVAC Terminology

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Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, HVAC what do all these acronyms mean?

Whether you need to consult an HVAC technician or you would just like to be familiar with the items in your home, you should know some basic terminology.  Below is a list of common terms associated with your HVAC system, it may help you in understanding what is being done, or needs to be done to your air conditioning unit or furnace.

General Overall Terms

Capacity – the output produced by the heating and cooling system and is measured in BTUs per hour

Energy Star is a term homeowners should know in today’s “green world.” It is a voluntary program promoted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which promotes superior energy efficiency in individual households and businesses. Since HVAC systems consume a large share of energy bills, the EPA pays particular attention to such models.

HVAC – acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning

In essence, HVAC can be associated with both the heating and the cooling of the climate within a household. The way air filters through the entire residence also falls under the wording as well.

Watt – one joule per second and shows the rate of energy generation in a certain time frame

Kilowatt – 1,000 watts.

Refrigerant – chemical used by an air conditioner for cooling effects, freon, or R-22, is a common component in an HVAC system

Specific Terms

Airflow volume – the amount of air circulated in space

BTU – British Thermal unit as a way to measure the heat needed to change the temperature by one degree Fahrenheit.

MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value,  it signifies the size of holes in a filter to allow air to pass through, serving the ventilation aspect of an HVAC system, higher MERV means smaller holes which actually desirable because it makes the system more efficient.

Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio (SEER) –  rating system which judges the efficiency of an air conditioner, the higher the rating, the better in regards how efficient it is

Zoning – a system designed to create zones within the home in order to help homeowners control temperature in certain parts of the residence. It may allow an owner to keep a bedroom warm at nights during the winter, but not heat the rest of the house in order to save on heating costs.

Names of appliances/units

A condenser coil is located outdoors in the HVAC system and releases or collects heat to help keep the residence in a comfortable climate.

A dehumidifier controls the humidity and moisture found in the air. A humidifier adds moisture to air as it passes through the system furnace. A humidistat is an automated device which maintains a humidity setting within a household.

Thermostat is the common name of the unit which monitors the actual temperature within a residence, which is crucial to how an HVAC functions. Usually, a household has only one, but it must be placed in an area that isn’t near cooling vents or potential heat sources in order to provide a consistently accurate reading.

When you know a variety of basic HVAC terminology, you will have a better understanding of how your system works and what if anything, is possibly wrong with your unit.  Never self-diagnose. If you have any HVAC issues or need a maintenance check, call the professionals at Air Expo to assist you in answering all of your questions and with any of your HVAC needs.

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