HVAC Glossary

HVAC: This stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, and means a technological system used to provide heating, cooling, and air quality to indoor environments.

Tune Up: Servicing a furnace or an air conditioner to ensure that there are no issues and that the system is working at maximum efficiency.

Air Handler: Also called an air handling unit (AHU), an air handler is essentially a metal box containing a blower and heating or cooling elements. They are connected to the ductwork ventilation system and the purpose is to distribute and circulate conditioned air throughout the home.

Chiller: Compresses a liquid refrigerant, which is then converted into a gas that’s circulated through heat exchangers or coils in air handlers, resulting in chilled air.

Coil: Increases or decreases the temperature and pressure of refrigerant liquid or gas before it moves to a different part of the HVAC system to be circulated into the home. There are two types of coils in a typical HVAC system, a condenser coil and an evaporator coil.

Crawl Space Encapsulation: Sealing any cracks or leaks in the walls, ceilings and floors of your home with a tough, waterproof barrier to keep out moisture, bugs, allergens and mold, and keep conditioned air in. This helps to ensure maximum HVAC efficiency, improving both air quality and comfort, as well as energy bills.

Duct: Also called ductwork, tube-like structures that carry air to and from HVAC systems. Usually constructed from galvanized steel or aluminum, and typically seen wrapped in fiber glass blankets for insulation.

Refrigerant: A compounded substance, typically a liquid, that phases from a liquid to a gas and back during heat pump and refrigeration cycles.

Freon: Brand name for a liquid refrigerant. Either a liquid or a gas, freon refers to a group of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) used as refrigerants in HVAC systems. A freon leak can cause the indoor coil to become coated in ice. If freon comes in contact with skin, it can cause frostbite due to rapid evaporation and should only be handled by professionals.

Compressor: Component of an HVAC system for circulating refrigerant, such as freon, which enters as a vapor. The vapor is compressed and becomes superheated, and then moves into the condenser.

Condenser: Heat exchanger device used to condense refrigerant vapor or gas into a liquid, typically by removing heat from the system at a constant temperature and pressure.

Air Flow: The volume or amount of air passing through a unit or device during a set amount of time.

Entering Water Temperature (EWT): The temperature of water when it enters the HVAC systems, specifically the air handler.

Leaving Water Temperature (LWT): The temperature of water after going through the heat transfer process in the HVAC system.

Capacitor: Used to provide extra power to components of the HVAC system. They are used for the compressor, the condenser fan motor, and the blower motor. Capacitors need to be checked annually; if not running properly, they will lead to high electric bills and shortened capacitor lifespan.

Amperage: The strength of an electrical current, measured in amperes (amps). HVAC systems are designed to run with precise amperages for maximum efficiency.

Blower: The component of an HVAC that circulates air through the heat exchange system, then through your home. The blower moves air across the evaporator coil for cooling or the heat exchanger for heating.


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