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The Language of HVAC - Part 1

The Language of HVAC - Part 1

July 13th, 2017

Sometimes it seems that when you need something fixed in your home, you have to learn a whole new language to understand what the pros are saying.

“Leaky faucet? Oh, that’s probably a corroded valve seat.”

“Internet not working? Your ISP might need to update your modem firmware.”

Ummmm... What?

When it comes to home comfort, we don’t think you should be worrying about decoding technical terms and strange acronyms. That’s why we’ve put together this handy reference of some of the most common HVAC terms, and provided a simple plain-language explanations on why they are important. This collection of terms is just Part 1, so be sure to come back soon and learn even more. We hope you find this helpful!

HVAC – This acronym stands for ‘Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning’, and generally refers to pretty much everything related to heating or cooling your home. If you're having a problem with your furnace or air conditioner, then it's the HVAC pros that you need to call.

Ducts – These are the round or square metal pipes that carry the air throughout your home. These can be visible in unfinished basements, but are usually hidden within the walls and in the floors of your home. It's important to keep the ducts in your home clean and free of dust.

BTU – This stands for ‘British Thermal Unit’, and is used to measure things like how much heat your furnace will produce. Think of BTUs like ‘inches’ or ‘centimeters’, but for heating. The bigger the number, the more heat it produces, and the faster the temperature in your home will change.

Damper – A damper is a flap or valve within the ducts of your home that can be opened or closed to control how much air moves through a single section of ductwork. You can adjust these dampers to either reduce the amount of airflow by closing them, or open them to increase the amount of airflow in particular rooms or sections of your home.

SEER – This stands for ‘Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio’. This is a measure or statistic that each furnace or air conditioner has, and it simply describes how energy efficient the unit is. The higher the SEER number, the more energy efficient the furnace or air conditioner unit will be, so always compare SEER numbers when purchasing or replacing home comfort equiment.

Heat Exchanger – This is a piece inside your furnace that transfers the heat to the air moving through your ducts. The gas flame inside your furnace heats up the metal heat exchanger. Then the air is pulled in to the furnace by the fan and moves around the heat exchanger, which warms the air up as it passes over it. The warm air then gets pushed back in to your home through the ducts.

Condenser – This is the part of your air conditioner system that sits outside your home. It is usually a larger square or rectangle shaped unit with a big fan on it. The condenser works much like the heat exchanger in your furnace, only in reverse. Its job is to produce cool air inside the furnace by removing the heat and venting it to the outside.

This is just a handful of the HVAC terms that you may hear, so if you have any questions at all, we are here to help. Simply give us a call and we’d be happy to provide all the answers you need, or if you’d like to arrange a visit from one of our home comfort professionals, we’d be happy to talk with you in-person about your home comfort needs.

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