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    HVAC Dictionary

    The HVAC industry can be a maze of unfamiliar acronyms and industry terms. This dictionary will help you navigate the most common terms you’ll come across in residential Heating and Cooling.

    A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W Z


    AC Alternating Current - A type of current where the polarity is perpetually reversing, causing the directional flow in a circuit to reverse at regular intervals.

    ACCA - Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

    A-Coil - A heat exchanger consisting of two diagonal coils that are joined together and looks like the letter "A".

    Acoustical - Relating to sound, the science of sound, or a sense of hearing.

    AFUE - Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measurement used to rate furnace efficiencies by dividing the ratio of heat output by heat input.

    AGA - American Gas Association, Inc.

    Air Balance Test - A test used to measure airflow across a tower or air handler system.

    Air Balancing Hood - Measures airflow from grilles and diffusers.

    Air Conditioner - A device that changes humidity levels, temperature or quality of air.

    Air Flow Volume - The amount of air the system circulates through your home, expressed in cubic feet per minute (cfm). Proper air flow depends on the outdoor unit, the indoor unit, the ductwork and even whether the filters are clean.

    Air Handler - Parts of a system including the fan-blower, filter and housing. The portion of the central air conditioning or heat pump system that moves heated or cooled air throughout a home’s ductwork. In some systems a furnace handles this function.

    Amp (Ampere) - The practical meter-kilogram-second unit of electric current that is equivalent to a flow of one coulomb per second or to the steady current produced by one volt /web/20130605221219/">azeotropic mixture of difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane which is used as a refrigerant in air conditioning /web/20130605221219/"> haloalkane refrigerants it does not contribute to ozone depletion, and is therefore becoming more widely used as ozone-depleting refrigerants like R-22 are phased out.

    Reciprocating Compressor - A type of compressor used in cooling systems to compress refrigerant by using a piston action.

    Refrigerant - A chemical that condenses from a vapor to liquid and, in the process, decreases in temperature.

    Refrigerant Charge - The amount of refrigerant in a system.



    SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A rating system developed by the U.S. Government to indicate the efficiency level of cooling equipment.

    Self-contained System - A package unit.

    Sensible Heat - Heat added or subtracted that causes a change in temperature.

    Sensor - A device that reacts to a change in conditions.

    Split System - An outdoor unit combined with an indoor unit.



    Thermostat - Sensors that monitor and control the output of an HVAC system.

    Thermostatic Expansion Valve - A device that creates a constant evaporator temperature.

    Ton - One ton is 12,000 BTUs per hour.



    Upflow Furnace - A furnace that pulls in air from the bottom and releases it through the top.



    Vacuum - A space where the pressure is significantly below that of standard atmospheric pressure.

    Variable Speed  - A "smart" motor that runs on DC current and can vary it's operating speed using less electricity and providing increased comfort.

    Volt - A unit of electro-motive force.

    Voltage - The force pushing electrical current along wires and cables.



    Watt - The unit of electrical power equal to the flow of one amp at a potential difference of one volt.

    Wet Bulb Thermometer - A thermometer that measures the relative humidity in the air.



    Zoning - A system that divides a home, office or space into different regions in order to better control the temperature and effectiveness of a heating and cooling system.



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