How do you define comfort? Is it sitting in your PJs in your cool, air-conditioned home as you watch a movie? Or is it drinking a cup of hot tea while you’re warm inside on a chilly morning? While we all have different definitions of “comfort” in the HVAC world, there are some extremely key terms that you should know. Our team at Comfort Masters Heating & Air Conditioning has put together a comprehensive list of the terms so that you will know what you are looking for when it comes to your HVAC unit.
Advanced Reciprocating Compressor
This type of compressor uses a more efficient process for compressing refrigerant for better cooling efficiency.
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This term tells you how much energy your HVAC unit is converting into heat. For example, a unit that has an AFUE score of 90 means that 90% of the fuel being used is warming your home. The other 10% is being wasted and escapes through the exhaust with the combustion gases.
An air handler is a device that is used to condition and circulate air as part of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. An air handler is typically a large unit that resembles a furnace. It runs off of electricity and is generally installed alongside residential heat pumps.
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. This measurement of heat is used for both heating and cooling systems. It tells the homeowner how much heat is given off when fuel is combusted or how much heat is being extracted for air conditioners. One BTU is equal to the heat given off by a wooden kitchen match.
Capacity refers to the amount of heating or cooling a system takes to provide the wanted temperature for a given space. For heating units, this is measured in BTUs. For cooling, this is measured in tons (12,000 BTU’s in a ton of cooling.)
Condenser coils are responsible for collecting the heat from your home’s air and directing the warm air outside of your home. As refrigerant travels to the outdoor unit, it is in its gas form, which fills up the condenser coils. From here, it warms up the area outside, so that the refrigerant cools down and returns to its liquid state. From here, the refrigerant will travel back to the evaporator coils where it will help cool down the air in your home.
Powered by electricity or battery, a digital thermostat was designed with a digital screen to display the temperature and other information about the air in your home. It is one of the most accurate thermostats a homeowner can buy and it helps ensure reliable and efficient temperature regulation for your home.
Downflow refers to a type of furnace that takes cool air from the top of the home, heats it, and then blows it out through the bottom of the unit. This type of furnace is common for households that have their furnace located in a slab home. (A slab-home is a house whose foundation is made of concrete that is generally 4”-6” thick in the center.)
EAC stands for an electronic air cleaner. This nifty device filters out larger contaminant particles from your indoor air, making it cleaner and purer. It is operated through electricity which helps magnetize the air particles and pulls in harmful bacteria or even viruses. They are then drawn to a collector plate where these contaminants slowly die. The collector plate needs to be washed at least three times per year to ensure the safety and good air quality of the home.
ECM is an electronically controlled motor that uses an ultra-high efficient DC driven motor. This allows you to circulate and filter the air in your home continuously for about the same cost as operating a standard light bulb.
A load estimate refers to a series of studies that are performed to understand the heating and cooling requirements of your home. These tests break down the following:
- Energy Load Analysis gathers information such as the square footage of your home, how many windows and doors you have, the insulation quality, and the local climate. This tells an HVAC company what is needed by your HVAC system.
- Heat Loss Analysis looks at the specific heating requirements of your home. This is determined by finding out how much heat is lost through your roof, the entryways of your home, and that gets absorbed by the walls.
- Heat Gain is the same thing as the heat loss analysis test but refers to how much heat is gained that your air conditioning has to overcome.
Your AC unit’s evaporator coil cools and dehumidifies the air by converting liquid refrigerant into gas. The liquid refrigerant helps cool the air that passes over the coils. As the refrigerant is changed into gas, it is carried through a tube to the outdoor unit where the condenser coils are located.
The fan coil is an indoor component of your heat pump system. It is used in place of a furnace and provides additional heating through electric elements on cold days when the heat pump cannot provide adequate heating.
HSPF stands for heating seasonal performance factor. This measures the efficiency of your heat pump. The higher the HSPF score, the more efficient the unit is at heating your home.
This type of furnace is installed on its “side” as it operates by drawing in air from one side. It then heats the air in its central unit and then sends the warm air out of the other side. Horizontal flow furnaces are usually installed in attics and crawl spaces.
A humidifier is designed to add water vapor to the air in your home as it moved out of the furnace. This helps avoid your air being too dry as dry air can damage furniture, dry out skin and eyes, and lead to static electricity. Humidity levels in a household should range between 35-50%.
A matched system is a heating and cooling system that is built out of products that have been certified to perform at promised comfort and efficiency levels when used together. Matched systems need to be installed by specialists to ensure that they are set up and meet engineering specifications before use.
This refers to how much it costs to run your heating and cooling unit to ensure the comfort of your home. This is based on the energy usage of the HVAC system.
Payback analysis measures the efficiency and value of your home HVAC system. This combines your purchase price and operating costs, determining whether or not you will see an offset of your purchase price and how many years it will take to earn back your investment.
This refrigerant is environmentally friendly and designed to protect the earth’s ozone layer. Federal law now mandates that all manufacturers phase out ozone-depleting refrigerants. It is approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a replacement for Freon 22.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measurement of the cooling efficiency of your HVAC unit. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your unit is at converting electricity into cooling.
A specially designed compressor that works in a circular motion, as opposed to up-and-down piston movement. It has fewer moving parts and provides a smooth, efficient, and reliable operation.
A split system is an air conditioner or heat pump that has components in two locations. Usually, one part of the system is located inside (evaporator coil) and the other is located outside your home (condenser coil).
A furnace that can operate on both low and high heat settings. Low heat is typically used around 80% of the time and has a lower BTU output. It also runs quieter but the high heat setting is used for cold weather.
Upflow is a furnace that draws air in from the bottom of the unit, heats it in the central part of the unit, and returns the warm air out of the top of the ductwork. This type of furnace is usually installed in a basement or an out-of-the-way closet.
A ventilator captures the heating or cooling energy from the stale indoor air and transfers it to fresh incoming air.
Zoning refers to a technique to increase your home’s comfort and energy efficiency by controlling when and where heating and cooling occurs in your home. The thermostat is used to control the operating times of the equipment, ensuring that the home has a nice even feel. Dampers are often used in this technique to direct airflow to certain parts or “zones” of the home.
Helping You Find Your Perfect Comfort
No matter what your definition of the perfect temperature is, you will need a strong team to help you keep your HVAC system up and running. The HVAC specialists at Comfort Masters Heating & Air Conditioning can help you achieve the perfect temperature in your home with superior HVAC maintenance and replacement services. Contact our team today to find out why Comfort Masters is DFW’s most trusted HVAC team.