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hvac installation service

HVAC Parts – Speaking the Lingo

HVAC parts and what they do can be confusing. We’ve been in the air conditioning and heating business for a long time and these terms are second nature to us. Over the years we’ve asserted ourselves as experts in the industry, so instead of spewing off facts and using fancy acronyms to overwhelm customers, we try to help our customers understand the services we provide and why they’re necessary.

We want you to feel comfortable talking about HVAC parts with us – specifically when we start using words like refrigerant or heat pump. In order to better educate you on the subject of HVACs (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), we compiled this HVAC Glossary with definitions from to help you learn the basics.

Air Purifier – a device which removes contaminants from the air in a room.

British Thermal Unit (BTU) – The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit; equal to 252 calories.

Central Air Conditioning – Circulates cool air through a system of supply and return ducts.

Dual Duct System – An air conditioning system that has two ducts, one is heated and the other is cooled, so that air of the correct temperature is provided by mixing varying amounts of air from each duct.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) – The measure of the instantaneous energy efficiency of room air conditioners; the cooling capacity in Btu/hr divided by the watts of power consumed at a specific outdoor temperature (usually 95 degrees Fahrenheit).

Fan Coil – A heat exchanger coil in which a fluid such as water is circulated and a fan blows air over the coil to distribute heat or cool air to the different rooms.

Geothermal Heat Pump – A type of heat pump that uses the ground, ground water, or ponds as a heat source and heat sink, rather than outside air. Ground or water temperatures are more constant and are warmer in winter and cooler in summer than air temperatures. Geothermal heat pumps operate more efficiently than “conventional” or “air source” heat pumps. 

Heat Pump – An electricity-powered device that extracts available heat from one area (the heat source) and transfers it to another (the heat sink) to either heat or cool an interior space or to extract heat energy from a fluid.

iComfort Enabled (Lennox website) – Refers to products from the Dave Lennox Signature® Collection of heating, cooling and humidity control products that are configured to work with an iComfort® programmable thermostat as an advanced home comfort system.

Kilowatt (KW) – A standard unit of electrical power equal to one thousand watts, or to the energy consumption at a rate of 1000 Joules per second.

Multi-zone System – A building heating, ventilation, and/or air conditioning system that distributes conditioned air to individual zones or rooms.

Net Metering?? – The practice of using a single meter to measure consumption and generation of electricity by a small generation facility (such as a house with a wind or solar photovoltaic system). The net energy produced or consumed is purchased from or sold to the power provider, respectively.

Outside Coil – The heat-transfer (exchanger) component  a heat pump, located outdoors, from which heat is collected in the heating mode, or expelled in the cooling mode.

Programmable Thermostat – A type of thermostat that allows the user to program into the devices’ memory a pre-set schedule of times (when certain temperatures occur) to turn on HVAC equipment.

Refrigerant -The compound (working fluid) used in air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigerators to transfer heat into or out of an interior space. This fluid boils at a very low temperature enabling it to evaporate and absorb heat.

Season Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, an energy efficiency rating for air conditioners. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit.

Two-State Operation (Lennox website) – Provides two levels of heating or cooling output for enhanced temperature control, energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

Ultraviolet – Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of 4 to 400 nanometers.

Ventilation Air – That portion of supply air that is drawn from outside, plus any recirculated air that has been treated to maintain the desired air quality

Zoning System – The combining of rooms in a structure according to similar heating and cooling patterns. Zoning requires using more than one thermostat to control heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment.

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