Ten Common HVAC Terms You Should Know

When you’re faced with a heating system or cooling system repair or replacement in New Jersey, you may feel overwhelmed, especially if you are not sure of the different HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) technical terms that are used. It’s common to feel confused when your technician or sales person uses technical heating system or cooling system terms that you may not understand. Having a basic understanding of HVAC terminology will help you when you need a heating system or cooling system repair or if you’re having a new heating system or cooling system installed.  Below, you’ll find ten common HVAC terms.

  1. AFUE. The ratio of useful energy output to energy input, expressed as a percentage. For example, a 90% AFUE for a natural gas furnace means it outputs 90 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of useful heating for every 100 BTUs of natural gas input (where the rest may be wasted heat in the exhaust). A higher AFUE means higher efficiency1.
  2. BTU. British thermal units; a measurement of heat. A single BTU is the amount of heat required to raise 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. This is good indication of how powerful your boiler is and how well it is operating. A higher BTU rating means a greater heating capacity.
  3. Coil. Your HVAC system uses a condenser coil in the outdoor unit and an evaporator coil in the indoor unit. These coils use heat transfer to change the temperature of the air.
  4. Compressor. In a central AC system,the compressor is located within the outside condenser unit. It is responsible for circulating and raising the pressure of the refrigerant in your system.  
  5. Ductwork. A system of metal or synthetic tubes that pass air through your home from your forced hot air and central AC system. This is a key part of your HVAC system, so it is important you maintain your ducts.
  6. Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The ratio of your AC system’s cooling capacity (in British thermal units or BTUs) per hour to the power input in watts. A higher EER rating means a more efficient system.
  7. Heat Exchanger. A component located in a natural gas furnace. It transfers heat to the air around it. This air is then circulated through the home to warm it.
  8. Line Set. These are the two lines of refrigerant that connect the evaporator coil and condensing unit in a central AC system. The small, copper tube is the liquid line, while the large and more insulated tube is the suction line.
  9. Refrigerant. A chemical that produces cooling effects while vaporizing or expanding. If your AC system was installed prior to 2010, it probably uses R-22 refrigerant (also known as Freon®). Newer AC systems use R-410-A.
  10. SEER. This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It measures the efficiency of an air conditioner. The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. Currently, the minimum SEER rating for a system is 13. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy the system is.

NJR Home Services is here for you and your New Jersey home comfort needs. We offer heating repair and installations, AC repair and installations, electrical home repairs or solar installation. If you are interested in a solar panel system for your New Jersey home, simply call 877-466-3657 or complete our online request form. We’ll respond promptly and answer your questions.


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