A/C Terminology Every Homeowner Needs to Know

Oftentimes, homeowners get confused when talking to their HVAC technician and the jargon that they use. By understanding a few words of the heating and cooling industry, you can have an intelligent conversation with your technician.

If you ever had an air-conditioning HVAC technician over at your home, discussing what is wrong with your system, you may have been confused by some of the jargon he or she used. You might even have been confused with what HVAC means. Like any industry, it has its own set of lingo. Below, you will find the definition of some of the air-conditioning terminology.

Air Flow – The duct system is designed to push approximately 400 ft.³ of air flow each minute (CFM) for every ton of capacity of the air-conditioner.

Air Handler – Most air-conditioners are built on a split system where the air compressor is located outdoors, and the air handler is located indoors. The handler contains the blower, the furnace, and the evaporator coil.

The Charge – When your air-conditioning technician is checking the charge, they are evaluating the level of refrigerant in the system.

EER – The Energy Efficient Rating is a calculation used for ground source heat pumps and window AC units to determine their level of efficiency in producing comfortable air.

Geothermal Heat Pump – While a standard heat pump will pull heat from the outside air, a geothermal heat pump pulls its heat from a body of water or the ground.

Heat Pump – The heat pump in your air-conditioning unit allows the system to run in reverse. Your system is designed to pull heat from inside the home to the outside during the summer months. In the winter, it operates backwards, removing heat from the outside and blowing it inside.

HVAC – The terminology stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. The term is generally used to describe the entire field of heating and cooling.

Return – This refers to the air that is returned to the air conditioner through the duct system to be heated or cooled and sent back into the home.

SEER – This term is an energy efficiency rating that is used for efficient air-conditioners. By law, every air conditioner must be 13 Seer or greater.

Air-Conditioning Tons – The tons in this term are not making reference to the weight of the air conditioner, but the capacity it has to produce comfortable air. The higher number of tonnage in an air conditioner, the greater the capacity it has to generate cold air.

By understanding a few of the simple jargon words of the heating and cooling industry, you can have an intelligent conversation with your heating and cooling technician.

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