Have you ever called your air conditioning company for a service call and not know how to explain the issue you’re having? This happens more often than you think. Knowing the air conditioning terminology used by professional companies can help you better describe the issues. Many Air Conditioning terms are abbreviations or acronyms, as some of unabbreviated terms can be more difficult to convey.

In case a service call is needed, homeowners should know a term or two about their air conditioning system. Understanding what you are talking about will provide a better description for the AC Today technician. To help homeowners learn more about air conditioning terminology, we have created a small list of terms used by professional companies.

Air Conditioning Terms

HVAC
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

NATE
This acronym stands for North American Technician Excellence. NATE-certified technicians are trained professionals who have proven their education and knowledge within the HVAC industry. Passing the NATE certification test indicates the skilled professional represents real world knowledge of all carriers and systems.

Compressor
The pump that circulates refrigerant from the indoor outdoor condenser to the indoor evaporator coil, then back to the condenser.

Condenser or C/U
The outdoor portion of your air conditioning unit. This unit houses the compressor, condensing coil and condenser fan along with various electrical componets.

British Thermal Unit (BTU)
British thermal unit, which is used to measure thermal energy. It measures the amount of energy needed to increase one pound of water, by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

Ton
When speaking about the size of an air conditioning system you will most certainly hear the word ton. Each ton of cooling equals 12,000 BTU’s. This is the capacity of the system, not to be confused with efficiency or SEER. You may hear a technician say the system is a “3 ton 14 SEER
Heat Pump” this statement describes the system in more technical terms.

Refrigerant
This is a chemical used within air conditioners, refrigerators and heat pumps, which can be in liquid or gaseous form. The fluid boils at a low temperature, which enables it to evaporate and absorb heat. There are a number of different types of refrigerant, but the two most common types, for residential use, are R-22 (which is being phased out) and R-410a which is now industry standard.

SEER
Known as, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. SEER is a rating that measures the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the rating, the better efficiency of the system.

Ductwork
The term ductwork refers to the system of ducts, normally within the attic or under the home
, that are used to transport air throughout your home. Proper ductwork installation is the key component of air quality and efficiency in your home.

EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a federal company who develops, monitors and regulates code enforcement laws. The EPA is also overseeing the ENERGY STAR program. If you see a product that has an ENERGY STAR label, that means the product meets or exceeds the federal guidelines qualified for energy-efficient performance.

HVAC Damper
This item is a movable tray, inside the ductwork, that guides that air to specific locations within your home. This is a good product for zoning or zone control systems.

MERV
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating is to classify the efficiency of air filters. Each air filter has its own design of a hole, which allows for air and particles to pass through. However, the smaller the holes, the lesser particles can pass through. Choosing an air filter will decide how big or small the holes are, meaning which air filter is more efficient.

Learning Air Conditioning Terms

Learning the air conditioning lingo is something every homeowner should take the time to do. Knowing and understanding your air conditioning system can help you better diagnose and explain the issue to your local technician, at AC Today. Making decisions can be easier if you know the basic air conditioning terms. At AC Today, our technicians take the time to explain services, offers and repairs needed, to where you can better understand it. Using technical terms will not do you any good if you do not know what it means. For more information on air conditioning terms, contact AC Today.