Tag Archives: HVAC terminology

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Key Terms for Understanding Your HVAC System

 

All complex systems have a defined set of important expressions and abbreviations that help both the professionals and the consumers understand how everything works. It is our job, as responsible users of the HVAC system to take some time and learn all the key terms that describe our units, in order to better understand how to use them in our everyday lives, how to compare and make informed choices when buying new units, as well as how to properly maintain our systems. Let’s get back to basics!

HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

The basic HVAC system is usually comprised of three elements: the heating system (a furnace or boiler), the ventilation, and the air-conditioning unit. There are simpler and more complex systems available, depending on the user’s needs. For example, more complex systems might include an air filtration and cleaning element, different humidifiers, radiant floors, swamp coolers, and so on…

SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

This useful abbreviation informs users about the cooling efficiency of their units. The SEER rating is determined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute by dividing the cooling output by the total electric energy input of a particular unit. The higher the SEER rating, the better.

BTU – British Thermal Units

BTU is an abbreviation most often seen on units imported from outside the USA, signifying their strength. More precisely, one BTU stands for the amount of heat needed to increase or decrease the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

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AFUE – Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The gas furnace in your HVAC system turns gas into energy, and the AFUE tag helps you know the amount of energy you should receive from your unit. When considering the AFUE values, keep in mind that the higher the rating is, the more energy (and money) you will save. For example, if your appliance’s AFUE rating is 90, this means that 90 % of the energy created is used to heat up your home, while 10 % is lost during heating.

HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor

Heating seasonal performance factor lets you know the amount of heat created during an entire heating system. Just like SEER and AFUE, the higher the rating, the better efficiency your HVAC unit has.

EER – Energy Efficiency Ratio

Before the introduction of the SEER ratio, EER was the standardized way of measuring the cooling efficiency of the HVAC system. EER is measured by a set inside air temperature, as well as a set outside air temperature and a 50 % relative humidity.

MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value

Another older efficiency signifier, MERV was used on Energy Star approved appliances before being replaced by the SEER. As well as the SEER, a higher MERV rating means better efficiency.

If you have questions about your HVAC system, feel free to contact us at Total Comfort Heating & Cooling and one of our experienced technicians will be happy to assist you