May 22 , 2024 Comment

Navigating the world of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) can be daunting, especially with all the specialized jargon. To help you understand your HVAC system better and communicate effectively with professionals, here’s a glossary of common HVAC terms.

Air Handler

An air handler is a device used to regulate and circulate air as part of an HVAC system. It typically contains a blower, heating or cooling elements, filter racks, sound attenuators, and dampers.

BTU (British Thermal Unit)

A BTU is a unit of measurement for energy. In the context of HVAC, it describes the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. This measurement is often used to describe the capacity of heating and cooling systems.

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)

CFM measures the volume of air being moved by the HVAC system per minute. It’s an essential factor in determining the efficiency and effectiveness of the system in ventilating and conditioning the air in a space.


The condenser is a crucial part of an air conditioning system. It’s located outside the home and is responsible for releasing the heat absorbed from inside the house. The condenser unit contains a compressor, coils, and a fan.


Ductwork refers to the system of ducts used to transport air from the HVAC system throughout the home. Properly designed and sealed ductwork is essential for efficient heating and cooling.

Heat Pump

A heat pump is a versatile device that can both heat and cool a home. In winter, it extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it inside. In summer, it reverses the process, removing heat from the indoor air and releasing it outside.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)

HSPF is a measure of a heat pump’s efficiency over a typical heating season. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump.


An acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, HVAC refers to the technology and systems used to regulate indoor climate and ensure comfort and air quality.

MERV Rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value)

MERV ratings measure the efficiency of air filters. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at trapping airborne particles. Residential filters typically have MERV ratings between 1 and 16.


Refrigerant is a substance used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems to absorb and release heat. Common refrigerants include R-22 and R-410A. Proper handling and disposal of refrigerants are essential for environmental safety.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)

SEER measures the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. It’s calculated by dividing the cooling output over a typical cooling season by the total electric energy input during the same period. Higher SEER ratings indicate more efficient systems.


A thermostat is a device that controls the temperature of your home by turning the HVAC system on or off based on the set temperature. Programmable and smart thermostats offer advanced features like scheduling and remote control.

Variable Speed Motor

A variable speed motor can adjust its speed to meet the heating or cooling demands of your home, providing more consistent temperatures and improved energy efficiency compared to single-speed motors.

Zone System

A zone system divides your home into different areas or zones, each with its own thermostat. This allows for customized temperature control in different parts of the house, improving comfort and energy efficiency.


Understanding these common HVAC terms can help you make informed decisions about your heating and cooling needs. Whether you’re upgrading your system, troubleshooting issues, or simply aiming to improve energy efficiency, knowing the terminology is the first step toward achieving a comfortable and efficient home. If you have any questions or need further clarification, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get service from a professional HVAC technician.


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