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The Language of HVAC - Part 3

The Language of HVAC - Part 3

January 24th, 2018

Here we go again! This is our third instalment of our series of handy reference articles we’ve created to help simplify and explain the terminology used in the world of heating and air conditioning. Sometimes it’s not always clear what some technicians and HVAC experts may be referring to when discussing your heating and air conditioning needs, and there are a lot of acronyms that get thrown around in brochures and on websites of equipment manufacturers. In this article, we help keep things simple by continuing our list of important HVAC definitions that you need to know. Let’s get to it!

Check out our previous editions of The Language of HVAC with Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

Tankless Water Heater – Also known as on-demand water heaters, tankless water heaters operate by delivering heated water only when it is needed instead of storing hot water and maintaining it at a constant temperature. This method of heating water only when required is considered to be a much more ecologically-friendly option since it does not result in wasted gas or electricity to keep the water hot when it is not needed.

HRV – Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) are devices that move stale indoor air outside, and bring in fresh outdoor air in to your living spaces. HRVs are designed in such a way that as the indoor air moves through it, the warmth is transferred to the cooler air coming in to the HRV from outside. This crisscross movement of air through the HRV means that the warmth inside your home isn’t simply exhausted to the outside, and is ‘recovered’ to help warm up the incoming outdoor air before it enters your home.

CSA – The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is a regulatory organization that sets the standards for safety, engineering, design, and other factors for electronics, machinery, and construction materials. You should look for the CSA label on products such as appliances and home comfort equipment that you purchase for your home, as this will indicate that the product complies with these standards. Learn more about CSA here.

Energy Star® - Launched by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star program is a voluntary certification for many different categories of products. In order for a product to bear the Energy Star label, it must meet strict standards for energy efficiency. You will likely have seen the Energy Star label on home appliances, electronics, and heating and cooling equipment. Energy Star is an internationally recognized certification, and is found on products in the USA, Canada, the European Union, and parts of Asia. You should always look for the Energy Star label on new appliances and home comfort equipment before you buy. Learn more about Energy Star here.

Ductless Mini-Split – This unit is a type of heating and air conditioner combination system that can be installed in older homes that do not have the necessary ductwork, or in unique situations where there is not an option to have ductwork installed. Ductless Mini-Split units are able to both heat and cool a space, making them ideal solutions for controlling the comfort level in specific rooms and spaces. Ductless Mini-Split units are small and compact, and are easy to install in virtually any kind of space.

Pleated Filter – If you look at the air filter in your furnace, and it has the appearance similar to that of an accordion, you’re looking at a pleated air filter. Usually made from a type of synthetic fiber, pleated air filters offer a good balance between filter efficiency and cost, making them the preferred choice for filters inside your home furnace. Pleated filters do an excellent job at trapping dust and allergens, helping to keep the air in your home clean. Read our article on How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter for more tips.

MERV – This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and refers specifically to the effectiveness of an air filter, such as the ones located in your home furnace. MERV ratings fall on a scale from 1 to 20, with a lower number equaling a less efficient filter and a higher number equaling a more efficient filter. Most common home furnace air filters will come in at a MERV rating of between 8 and 13. It’s important to note that while a filter with a higher MERV rating will help keep the air in your home cleaner, it will also need to be replaced a bit more often since it will be capturing more dust and airborne contaminants in the same amount of time as a less efficient filter.

And so, here ends part 3 of our Language of HVAC series. Check back again soon for the next instalment of handy heating and cooling definitions, and be sure to drop us a line here if you have a particular question about any of these, or if you have a term you’d like to see us add to the list in our next article. Thanks for reading, and if there’s anything our home comfort experts can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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