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If you are in the market for a new HVAC system or find you are constantly in need of repairs, it can be helpful to learn the terms used by HVAC professionals. Here’s a glossary of HVAC terms to help you talk like a pro. 

HVAC Terms: Common Acronyms 

Other than HVAC which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, it’s a good idea to become familiar with common acronyms used in the biz: 

  • AFUE: Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency to rate furnace efficiency. 
  • BTU: British Thermal Unit, which is a unit of heat energy. The higher the number the better the heating capacity. 
  • CAE: Combined Annual Efficiency to measure how much heat is produced for every dollar of fuel used for HVACs and water heaters. 
  • CFM: Cubic Feet Per Minute to measure airflow. 
  • HEPA Filter: High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing which means a filter can trap and remove smaller particles from the air. 
  • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, used to rate heat pump efficiency. The higher the better. 
  • MERV Rating: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value for filters. The higher the more efficient. 
  • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio which measures energy efficiency for air conditioners. The higher the better. 

These are the most common acronyms used in the industry. 

HVAC Terms Glossary 101 

Here are the HVAC terms you will often hear thrown around by HVAC professionals: 

  • Air Handler: This is the component that blows cold or hot air through your home’s ductwork. 
  • All-in-One System: A system where all the parts are in one cabinet. Sometimes called a packaged system. 
  • Capacity: How much cold or warm air a unit can produce measured in BTUs for hot air and tons for cold. 
  • Compressor: This is the outdoor component of an AC unit or heat pump. 
  • Condenser Coil: The exterior part of an AC or heat pump to release and/or accumulate heat. 
  • Cycling: When the system turns on and off to maintain temperatures. 
  • Damper: A movable part to regulate airflow in the ductwork. 
  • Ductwork: The ducts that carry air through your home. 
  • Energy Star: The program that awards the highest rating to the most efficient HVAC systems. 
  • Evaporator Coil: Absorbs heat from the air from inside the system. 
  • Heat Exchanger: Allows heat to move from one fluid to another without touching. 
  • Heat Pump: Used to move heat or cool a space for a ductless HVAC system. 
  • Humidifier: Adds moisture to indoor air. 
  • Humidistat: Maintains humidity automatically. 
  • Indoor Coil: The interior part of the AC system that works with the outdoor unit. 
  • Load Calculation: The calculation used to assess a space’s energy needs to find the right size system. 
  • Modulating Heating: A more fuel-efficient heating system that adjusts to temperatures in the space. 
  • Outdoor Coil: Disperses heat from the outdoor unit from the refrigerant turning it from a vapour to a liquid. 
  • R-22 Refrigerant: This is the refrigerant being phased out and replaced with more eco-friendly, chlorine-free R-410A Refrigerant. 
  • R-410A: As above, the chlorine-free refrigerant meeting the newest environmental guidelines. 
  • Refrigerant: The substance used to create the cooling effect in AC systems. 
  • Scroll Compressor: A special compressor that operates in a circular motion. 
  • Split System: A ductless system using a heat pump or air conditioner with indoor and outdoor components. 
  • Thermidistat: The control that monitors temperature and humidity while regulating the system to maintain consistent temperatures based on the chosen setting. 
  • Thermostat: The wall-mounted control that regulates temperatures for the HVAC system. 
  • Ton: The unit of measurement for an AC’s cooling capacity. 
  • Ventilator: This system exchanges stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. 
  • Zoning: How the temperature is controlled and the areas that are heated or cooled. 

This HVAC glossary will have you conversing with HVAC professionals in their own language. 

If you would like to start a conversation about your HVAC needs, speak to the HVAC professionals at RB Heating ClimateCare. 

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