There’s a lot of words, acronyms, and part names in the HVAC world that homeowners may hear a lot, but don’t quite understand. It’s our goal to remain transparent with our customers and provide the knowledge necessary to confidently understand what goes into an HVAC system. Here are some common HVAC terms you’re bound to read and hear at some point or another so that you’ll be prepared when it comes time for an inspection!
General HVAC Definitions
Air Handling Unit: This is a moving part within the HVAC system that helps to circulate air throughout your home.
Amp Draw: A type of measurement used to determine how much power a blower motor uses to move air through a system. Our Wyckoff technicians measure this as part of our Peace of Mind Service Plan.
Blower Motor: A critical component of your HVAC system that is responsible for blowing warm air through vents when a heating system is in use, and cold air when the AC is in use. Two types of blower motors include single-speed and variable-speed motors.
Bypass Dampers: These dampers live within bypass ducts that allow or prevent air from entering through duct into different areas of a home or business. They are typically used for zoning.
Capacitor: Capacitors act as a rechargeable source to store electricity and provide a small burst of energy to the HVAC motor when necessary. HVAC units typically have a start capacitor and a run capacitor.
Central Air: This is a system in which air is cooled in the central location of a home or business and then distributed to and from various rooms using fans and ductwork.
Ductwork: These are passages in an establishment that an HVAC system uses to deliver and remove air throughout various rooms.
Filter: When air is drawn into return vents and ducts, it is the filter’s responsibility to remove dust, dirt, debris, and other allergens from the air before it gets circulated back into the property again.
Geothermal: This is a method of heating and cooling that uses underground heat from the Earth to generate hot or cool air for a house or commercial property.
Infiltration: This is the name used for uncontrolled airflow into a room caused by unknown cracks, gaps, etc.
Programmable Thermostat: This kind of thermostat allows users to adjust the temperature based on various programmed settings for different times or days.
Mini Split System: Mini splits provide the opportunity to control temperatures for individual rooms to cool and heat different spaces as needed. This system has little to no ducts and is relatively easy to install.
Zoning: Using dampers in a home’s ductwork, zoning systems redirect air to specific areas of the home letting homeowners customize different temperature zones.
AC Specific Definitions
AC Compressor: Acting as the heat of your AC unit, this pump moves the refrigerant through its system. The compressor is housed in the outdoor AC unit.
AC Contactor: This component controls the flow of electricity between different parts of an AC unit. It is responsible for giving your AC’s most important parts the power it needs.
Condenser Coil: A condenser coil is located in the outdoor unit and removes heat from the refrigerant.
Evaporator Coil: An evaporator coil is the part of an air conditioner that absorbs the heat from the air in your house. It is typically located inside the air handler or attached to the furnace. During the cooling mode of the AC system, a fan draws warm air from inside the home through the filter and furnace, and then over the evaporator coil. The refrigerant inside the evaporator coil enters as a liquid, and once the warm, filtered air is passed over it, the temperature of the air is lowered.
Fan Blades: The fan blades are responsible for expelling the hot air from the compressor and prevent the compressor from overheating.
Fan Motor: The purpose of an AC fan motor is to prevent an air conditioner’s compressor from overheating.
Freon: Freon is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), colorless gas that is present in the refrigerant most older AC units used to help cool air. Once freon was determined to be linked to ozone depletion, it began getting phased out. Freon will not be available for AC units beginning in 2020. Read our blog about the phaseout for more information.
Manifold Gauge: HVAC technicians use this tool to diagnose AC units, check the pressure, and determine if there is a leak.
Refrigerant Piping: This copper tubing is what connects an indoor evaporator coil to an outdoor evaporation unit.
R22 Refrigerant: See Freon.
R-410A Refrigerant: Also known as Puron, this is Freon’s environmentally-friendly substitute. Rather than a CFC, it is a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) that doesn’t negatively impact the ozone layer. It is the new refrigerant standard for residential air conditioners.
Heating Specific Definitions
Heat Exchanger: This is the term used for a component that relays thermal energy from one part of the HVAC system to another. Examples of HVAC heat exchangers include condensers and evaporators. This is inspected as part of our Peace of Mind Service Plan.
Radiant Floor: Using flexible plastic tubing underneath floors, warm water flows and heats floors warming up rooms from the ground up.
Helpful HVAC Industry Acronyms & Terms
Energy Star: This program certifies that specific products meet a standard of energy efficiency. All products Wyckoff installs are Energy Star certified.
HVAC: This acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
NATE: This acronym stands for North American Technician Excellence and is a non-profit certification organization for HVAC professionals.
PSI: This stands for pounds per square inch.
SAVE: Stands for System Adjustment and Verified Efficiency. This is an HVAC training and certification program offered in Iowa, and all Wyckoff service technicians are SAVE-certified.
SEER: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio which measures an AC’s cooling produced (in BTUs) divided by the amount of electricity used. If a SEER rating is higher, then the unit has higher efficiency.
Contact Wyckoff Heating & Cooling for Your Next HVAC Inspection
For a comprehensive inspection of your heating and cooling units, schedule your appointment with Wyckoff Heating & Cooling! Our SAVE-certified technicians will inspect your unit, diagnose and repair any issues found, and ensure that you’ll receive peace of mind.