HVAC Glossary

AFUE
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The AFUE percentage tells you how much energy is being converted to heat. The higher the number the greater the efficiency.

Air Handler
The portion of your heating and cooling system that forces air through your home’s ductwork.

ASHRAE
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers

BTU
British Thermal Units. The amount of heat it takes to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the BTU rating, the larger the heating capacity of the furnace or air conditioner.

Capacity
The ability of a heating or cooling system to heat or cool a given amount of space. Heating is usually expressed in BTUs, cooling is expressed in tons.

CFM
Cubic feet per minute (a measurement of airflow).

Compressor
The motor/pump that drives the air conditioning unit. It is responsible for pumping refrigerant throughout the system.

Condenser Coil
Part of the outdoor portion of a heating or cooling system, that releases or collects heat from the outside air.

Damper
A valve or moveable plate used in duct work that opens and closes to control airflow. They are used to direct air to specific areas of the home.

Downflow
A type of furnace that takes cool air from the top and blows warm air to the bottom.

Ductwork
Hollow metal pipes used to transfer air throughout your house.

Electronic Air Cleaner

An electronic device that filters out particles and contaminants in indoor air.

Evaporator Coil
Part of the heating or cooling system located indoors, that cools and dehumidifies the air by converting liquid refrigerant into gas.

Heat Exchanger
The major part of the furnace that transfers heat into your home.

Heat Pump
A unit that handles both heating and cooling. In some climates, a heat pump may handle your heating and cooling needs more efficiently than a furnace and air conditioner.

HEPA
High Efficiency Particulate Air (high-efficiency filter)

Horizontal Flow
A type of furnace, installed on its side, which draws air from one side, heats the air and then sends it our the other side.

HSPF
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. Measures the heating efficiency of a heat pump. Total annual electric power used, watt-hours, on a scale of 6.6 to 9.

Humidifier
A piece of equipment that adds moisture to the air as it comes out of the furnace.

HVAC
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Manual J A process for calculating heat load.

Manual S
A process for selecting proper equipment.

Manual T
A process for sizing outlets and returns.

Manual RS
Explains the issues of an HVAC system for a consumer.

MERV
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. A filter rating system, higher being better.

Refrigerant
A chemical that cools air as it evaporates.

SEER
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER measures a unit’s cooling efficiency. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

Single Package
An outdoor unit that contains both a heating and a cooling system.

Split System
Refers to an air conditioner or heat pump that is combined with indoor components, such as an evaporator coil inside and a condenser coil outside your home.

Thermostat
A device that monitors and controls your temperature inside your home.

Ton
In HVAC terminology, a ton is a unit of cooling capacity equal to the cooling effect of a ton of ice melting in 24 hours.

Upflow
A type of furnace that draws cool air from the bottom and blows the warmed air out the top.

Ventilator
A ventilator captures heating or cooling energy from stale indoor air and transfers it to fresh incoming air.

Zone
Zoning allows you to control the heating and cooling delivered to specific areas of your house for a custom solution. Zoning can increase efficiency and comfort in the areas of the house you use most often.

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