At Cox Air, we know that it can be confusing dealing with technical terms. Why is there a heat exchanger in an air conditioner? What’s the difference between AFUE, BTU and CFM? Because we’re dedicated to helping our customers get the most out of their HVAC system, here’s a quick guide to basic HVAC terminology and how it works in your heating system.
Back to Basics: A Guide to HVAC Terms
- AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or how efficiently your furnace turns gas into heat.
- Air Cleaner/Filtration System: Removes particles from the air, including allergens and dust.
- Air Handler: Equipment that moves the air through your home.
- BTU: British Thermal Unit, a unit of measurement for temperature change.
- Capacity: How much heat or air your system can reasonably put out.
- CFM: Cubic Feet per Minute, a measurement of air flow.
- Compressor: Pumps refrigerant through your system, moving heat into or out of your home.
- Condenser Coil: This changes refrigerant from gas to liquid, removing heat from it in the process.
- Cycling: When an HVAC system is turning on and off and how frequently it’s doing so.
- Damper: A movable plate in ductwork that controls air flow.
- Ducts/Ductwork: The system through which forced air is pushed into the home and returned to the system.
- Energy Star: A rating of energy efficiency administered through the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Furnace: A device producing heat that provides the heating part of your HVAC system during the winter.
- Heat Pump: An efficient system that moves heat into your home in the winter and out of it in the summer.
- HEPA: High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing, typically a filter that removes allergens from your home’s air.
- Outdoor Unit: The part of your system that is outside of your home.
- Refrigerant: A substance that is liquid at high pressure and gas at a lower pressure. It moves heat into or out of your home.
- SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, a measurement of air conditioner or heat pump efficiency.
- Thermostat: Typically mounted on a wall, this controls when your system is turned on and off, controlling the temperature in your home.
- Ton: Equal to 12,000 BTUs per ton, this is a measurement of the air conditioner’s cooling capacity.
- Zone: Used in larger homes or those where different needs are required in different areas, this provides different conditions in different parts of the home.
With this guide, you can translate technician jargon into what’s going on with your system in no time. If you need help with your HVAC system, please feel free to contact the professionals at Cox Air today.