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Glossary of HVAC Terms A-H

HVAC Glossary

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) measures a gas furnace’s efficiency in converting fuel to energy. A higher AFUE rating means greater energy efficiency.

Air Handler
An air handler circulates the air inside your home. It’s the indoor unit of your heating and cooling system and the more efficient it is, the less work your outdoor unit has to do to keep your home comfortable.

A piece of equipment designed to move air through a system. Usually refers to the air handling unit or air handler.

One British Thermal Unit (BTU) represents the amount of heat required to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. The heat extracted from your home by an air conditioner is measured in BTUs.

The heat extracted from your home by an air conditioner is measured in BTUs, while cooling and heating capacities are referred to in British Thermal Units per hour (BUTH). For reference, 12,000 BTUh equals one ton of cooling.

Central air conditioning
Central air conditioning refers to either a split system or a packaged system. Central air conditioning involves ductwork, as opposed to a window unit.

Cubic Feet per Minute, a standard of airflow measurement. A typical air conditioning system produces 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.

Clean Air Delivery Rate
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is the number of cubic feet of clean air that an air filtration system delivers in a minute. The CADR is recognized across the industry as the indicator for air filter efficiency.

Coil (Indoor Coil)
Equipment that enables heat transfer to and from the refrigerant and the air when installed inside an air handling unit. The indoor coil often features two rectangular coil surfaces connected at the top and open at the bottom.

The compressor is the part of an outdoor unit that pumps refrigerant. The compressor maintains adequate pressure to cause refrigerant to flow and meet the cooling requirements of your home.

Connected control
A connected control does more than just monitor and adjust temperature settings. Trane connected controls can manage energy use, adjust temperature and humidity levels by room and floor, turn on and off lights, lock and unlock doors and check security cameras. All of this can be managed remotely via internet-enabled computers, tablets and most smartphones.

Found in ductwork, this movable plate opens and closes to control airflow. Dampers are used effectively in zoning to regulate airflow to certain rooms.

A decibel (dB) is used to measure the intensity of sound.

Dual Fuel
Dual fuel systems have the option of using two fuel sources to maximize efficiency.

Ductless Mini-Split
A type of air conditioning system that does not use ducts to transfer cool air and instead the outdoor condenser unit is connected directly to an interior air handler. Because of this direct connection, generally only one room or space can be cooled at a time making ductless mini-splits a viable option for room additions or add-ons, but potentially troublesome for whole-home solutions.

Ductwork consists of the pipes and channels that carry air throughout your home.

A measure of how much energy is used to accomplish a cycle, measured by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The higher the rating, the more efficient a system is and the lower your energy consumption will be.

ENERGY STAR® is a government-backed program that helps businesses and individuals reduce energy costs and protect the environment through energy efficiency.

Energy tax credit
Energy tax credits are incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy, conserve resources and decrease pollution. Government agencies, utility companies and other organizations sometimes offer energy tax credits.

Evaporator Coil
The evaporator coil works with the indoor unit, functioning with the air conditioner or heat pump to cool and condition indoor air that flows over it by drawing out heat and moisture.

Fresh Air Intake
An opening through which outdoor air is drawn into a system.

The component in an HVAC system that adds heat to air by burning fuel in a heat exchanger.

Heat Pump
A heat pump, as part of a central heating and cooling system, uses the outside air to efficiently heat your home in the winter and cool it in the summer. Unlike a furnace, a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to make heat. It simply uses electricity to move heat from one place to another.

HEPA Filter
A High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filter. A HEPA filter removes particles from the air by trapping them as air flows through.

The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is used to measure the efficiency of heat pump. The HSPF is a ratio of the heat output to electricity use over an average heating season, and the higher the HSPF the greater the energy efficiency.

A humidifier is a device to increase humidity and moisture in your home.

A measure of the amount of moisture in the air.

HVAC commonly refers to heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

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