August 13th, 2017
We’re back again with another handful of important HVAC terms that you may hear when you arrange a visit from a home comfort specialist. While some may appear to be common terms, sometimes how they actually apply to your home heating and cooling can take on a bit of a different meaning. These definitions deliver simple and plain-language translations of some of the technical talk, acronyms, and terminology that is common in the world of HVAC. We hope you find this helpful and interesting!
Refrigerant – Air conditioners and refrigerators use a special liquid in order to make things cold, and this liquid is contained within the coils of the cooling system. Older air conditioners and refrigerators used R-22 refrigerant, commonly known as Freon. R-22 has been replaced by a new refrigerant called R-410A or Puron, which is safer since it contains no chlorine, and is much more environmentally friendly.
Air Flow – When you measure air flow, you are actually measuring how much air moves from one place to another in a certain period of time. This is usually represented in units of cubic feet per minute (CFM). For example, this simply means that a furnace fan rated at 1,000 CFM will move one thousand cubic feet of air in one minute. The higher the CFM number, the faster the air will move.
Variable Speed Motor – A very basic electric motor has two modes, On and Off, and when turned on they will run at a set speed. Variable Speed Motors can speed up or down depending on how much electricity is provided to the motor, just like the gas pedal in your car. Because they are adjustable, variable speed motors only run as fast as they need to in order to do the job, and are more energy efficient.
Louver – These are the slotted flaps that you typically see on the outside of buildings, and this is where air from inside the building is vented to the outside. Sometimes they are big, like on industrial or commercial buildings, or small like on the dryer vents or bathroom vents on your home. When the fans turn on, these flaps are pushed open by the force of the air. When the fan turns off they flip down to seal up the vent and prevent dust, water, or snow from getting in the vents.
Zoning – Some people have chosen to set up their homes to have different temperatures in different rooms or sections. These sections are called ‘zones’ and the process of setting them up is called ‘zoning’. Each zone in your home can be controlled on its own, and is very useful for making your entire home consistently comfortable all year long.
Radiant Floor – If you’ve ever found your bathroom tile floor to be way too cold, then a radiant floor is what you want. Radiant floor systems use a layer underneath your flooring that contains either electric heating wires or a series of very small tubes that carry hot water. When turned on, the electric wires generate a low level of heat in the floor, or the hot water begins flowing through the tubes to warm up the floor. This makes any kind of floor much more comfortable, especially in the colder months of the year.
Diffuser – This is the technical name for your home vent covers. The angled slots on the diffusers distribute and spread the moving air throughout a room instead of only to one particular spot, making the entire room a much more consistent temperature. Diffusers come in lots of different styles, and many have the option to adjust the size of the openings so you can have even more control over the temperature in a room.
Well, that’s it for Part 2! Be sure to check back again soon for the next instalment of our Language of HVAC posts, and if you have any terms that you’d like us to add to the list, simply comment below this article or drop us a line here and let us know how we can help. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, or arrange an in-home visit from one of our home comfort experts. We look forward to talking with you!