ALPs Blog
Apr 2018 25

The Most Common HVAC Terms & Acronyms Decoded

Posted in HVAC Education

Air Conditioning Repair, Air Conditioning Repair Orange County, Air Conditioning Service Orange County, Alps Air Conditioner Repair, Alps Central Air Conditioning, Alps Heat and Air, Alps Heating Repair, Alps Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Alps HVAC, Alps HVAC Orange County, Central Heat and Air Anaheim, Central Heat and Air Orange County, Family Owned Air Conditioning Orange County, Heat and Air Orange County, Heater Repair Anaheim, Heating and Air Conditioning Orange County, Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Anaheim, Heating and Air Conditioning Units, Heating and Air Orange County, Heating Repair Orange County, Heating Ventilation Anaheim, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Orange County, HVAC Repair, HVAC Talk, OC Heating and Air Conditioning, Orange County Heating and ACWhen you call your local HVAC company, do you try to use proper terminology to explain the issue that you’re experiencing? Or do you use words like “thing-a-ma-jig” or “what-cha-ma-call-it?”

Our technicians know from experience that the components and functions of HVAC systems are not common knowledge, especially for first-time homeowners.

Well, customer satisfaction is our top priority. So to help out, we have compiled a list of the most common HVAC terms, acronyms, and their meanings.  We want to educate our customers so they can speak about their systems confidently. But don’t worry; we won’t quiz you during your next maintenance appointment.


HVAC Terms & Acronyms:

– Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): A measure of furnace heating efficiency. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace.

– BTU: stands for British Thermal Unit. The amount of energy needed to heat up 1 lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

– Coil: There are typically two HVAC coils in a system—the condenser coil in the outside air conditioning condenser unit and the evaporator coil in the indoor unit. The coils are what increase or decrease the temperature via heat transfer.

– Combined Annual Efficiency (CAE): Combined Annual Efficiency (CAE) is a measure of the amount of heat produced for every dollar of fuel used to heat your home’s air and water. It is used to compare efficiencies of integrated water and space heaters.

– Compressor: An AC or heat pump compressor is the part of an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump that compresses and pumps refrigerant to meet household cooling requirements.

– Condenser: a heat exchange system that removes warm air and transfers it to an external location.

– Controller: the technical device that controls part or all of the system. Often, these devices control the power to your system, and are automatic.

– Damper: An HVAC damper is a movable plate, located in the ductwork, that regulates airflow and redirects it to specific areas

– Duct: the system by which the airflow travels.

– Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER): The ratio of cooling capacity to the power input (in watts). The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner.

– Heat Exchanger: A heating component that is located in the furnace and transfers heat to the surrounding air, which is then pumped throughout the home.

– HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

– MERV Rating: The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating is used to rank the efficiency of air filters

– Refrigerant: A chemical that produces a cooling effect while expanding or vaporizing.

– Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is an energy efficiency rating for air conditioners. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit.

– Split system: a heating and cooling system in which certain components are outside the home, while others are inside.

– Ton: Unit of measurement for determining cooling capacity.


With these basic terms, you will begin to have a much better understanding for troubleshooting problems and explaining them to your technician. We know these terms don’t cover everything, and in those cases, we are happy to assist in person or over the phone. Schedule an appointment or give us a call at 866-830-5444.


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