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Air conditioning & Heating HVAC GLOSSARY

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Glossary of HVAC Terms

Air Conditioning and Heating terms can get downright confusing. Listening to an HVAC technician may just make your head spin. Bostech wants our customers to have as much knowledge as possible about how your air conditioner, furance or heat pump works. Below is a quick overview of some of the more commonly used terms so you can feel comfortable in understanding what your technician tells you.

We’ll be adding more terms in the future, and you can always check out Wikipedia’s A-Z listing of HVAC terms and their meaning.

Air conditioning — improving indoor air comfort by transferring humidity and heat to the outside air.

Air Handling Unit — the inside portion of a split-system air conditioning or heat pump system. The air handling unit is part of the equipment inside a cabinet comprised of a heating element and/or a cooling coil and other components.

AHRI — the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, is a non-profit, voluntary trade association presenting hundred of manufacturers of air conditioning, heating and commercial refrigeration. They publish standards for testing and rating air conditioners and heat pumps.

Btu — British Thermal Unit, a unit of heat energy. This measurement is used for both heating and cooling. You need one Btu to increase the temperature of one pound of water to 1° F. One BTU is approximately equal to the heat given off by burning one wooden kitchen match.

Capacity — the performance ability of a cooling or heating system to cool or heat a given amount of space.

Condenser Coil — are tubes used to send the refrigerant through so it can be cooled. It is part of the outdoor unit of a split-system air conditioner or heat pump.

Evaporator Coil — part of the indoor portion of a split-system air conditioner or heat pump. The evaporator coil dehumidifies and cools the air by converting liquid refrigerant into a gas, which will absorb the heat from the air. The warmed refrigerant is then carried through a tube, called a condenser coil, to the outdoor unit.

Load Estimate — a progression of studies carried out to determine the cooling or heating requirements of your home. The typical energy load analysis consists of using information such as your home’s square footage, insulation quality, door or window areas, and local climate to determine the cooling and heating capacity needed by your air conditioner or heat pump. When estimating for heating it is called Heat Loss Analysis and determines the amount of heat lost through, entry ways, walls and the roof.

Fan Coil — part of the indoor portion of a heat pump. It is used to replace a furnace to provide additional heating on cold days when the heat pump does not deliver adequate heating.

HVAC — stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Sometimes seen as HVACR, which is a term used for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.

HSPF — term for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor used as a measure of the heating efficiency of a heat pump or furnace. The higher the HSPF rating the more efficiently the unit heats your home.

For a more comprehensive list of HVAC terms, visit Wikipedia – The Fee Encyclopeida

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