HVAC terminology for the homeowner | Ray & Son

Not an HVAC Repair Expert?

You Can Still Learn the Lingo

Like many industries, the HVAC has its own lexicon. It’s our hope we can help educate you on much of the language an HVAC repair technician might use, so you can fully understand our process and ask questions. It’s important to be comfortable with your southern Georgia and Northern Florida home mechanicals – they’re a big part of your comfort, air quality and utility usage.

Common HVAC Terms (You May Have Heard But Have Difficulty Defining…)

Air Handler: Part of the air conditioning system inside, which contains the (summer) circulating fan and evaporator and the (winter) condenser coil. It pushes the warm air outdoors in the summer and vice versa.

BTU: British Thermal Unit – a measurement indicating the amount of heat required to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. Typically referenced as “BTUs per hour.”

Capacity: Measured in BTUs per hour, it’s used to refer to the output by your air conditioner (or heat pump/furnace).

Charging a System: Refers to adding coolant or refrigerant, to an HVAC system.

Coil: A properly sized and rated evaporator coil is crucial for peak performance from your air conditioner or heat pump. The coil circulates conditioned refrigerant to cool the home in summer and heat in winter. As warm indoor air moves through the indoor coil, heat and humidity are removed resulting in cooler indoor air. The coil is connected to the airflow outlet of the furnace.

Compressor: Most homeowners think of this as the exterior unit. The unit outside your home actually contains the compressor, which is a pump used to increase the pressure of coolant gas.

Condensate: A liquid, essentially condensation, mechanically drained away from HVAC equipment, and created when warm air passes across the cool evaporator coil.

EER: Stands for “Energy Efficient Ratio,” is a measurement of a cooling unit’s output. It is the ratio of output cooling energy (in BTUs) to input electrical energy at a given operating point.

Heat pump: Used in more southern climates, where heating is needed less often. A heat pump works to transfer heat between two reservoirs, effectively providing both cooling and heat for a home and taking the place of an air conditioner and a furnace.

Media: You may have heard this term used in indoor air quality conversations, in the context of a product called a “Media Air Cleaner.” Media refers to the fine material in a filter designed to trap dirt, dust, pet dander, mildew and bacteria.

NATE: Highly important industry certification for HVAC repair and installation technicians. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, NATE is the only tech certification organization governed by the heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration industry.

Plenum: Although it sounds medical, it’s a pressurized housing containing a gas (usually air) at positive pressure higher than its surroundings. Typically referred to for its function of managing and equalizing pressure for even distribution of heated or cooled air.

Psychometric: An atmospheric reading, usually of moisture in the air.

SEER: A rating system for the efficiency of air conditioners, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. When comparing ratings, the higher the better for energy efficiency.

There’s certainly a lot more to cover in this subject. Look for more HVAC repair and install terms in upcoming blogs.

In the meantime, you can lessen the chance of needing HVAC repair by regularly changing or cleaning your filter and taking advantage of a service plan, such as Ray & Son’s Comfort Club. The membership includes two scheduled 17-point seasonal tune-ups and cleanings for your heating and cooling systems.

Call Ray & Son at 229-518-9247 for a preventative maintenance appointment, to sign up for the Comfort Club or for an estimate on a modern and efficient unit. Concerned about the expense of a new air conditioner? We care about your health, safety and energy efficiency so we offer multiple financing options.

Contact Ray & Son today for all your HVAC repair, service and install needs in and around southern Georgia and northern Florida. For more than 50 years Ray & Son has been “Where Service is our Business and Quality is a Way of Life!”