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How to Talk to Your HVAC Technician About Your Air Conditioner

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Posted May 13, 2015

Have you ever needed an emergency AC repair and wished you were more familiar with HVAC lingo (that is Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, of course)?

A reputable A/C Technician will always take the time to ensure that you understand what he or she is doing when repairing or maintaining your HVAC system.

However, here at Air Specialist, we think it is good to be prepared.

That is why we’ve put together this list of common A/C terms.

Take a few minutes this afternoon to brush up on your HVAC lingo- your HVAC tech will be SO impressed!

ACH– refers to the air exchange (or change) rate of your system. Your ACH is equal to the number of times an hour the volume of your space is replaced by mechanical or natural ventilation.

Air Cleaner– is a device that removes particles including pollen, allergens, bacteria, dust and other pollutants from the air. An air cleaner can be incorporated into some HVAC systems.

Air flow– while seemingly an ordinary term, in the world of Air Conditioners “air flow” refers to the amount of air that your duct system moves.

Air Handler– while those of us in the HVAC industry like to think of ourselves as “Air Handlers” or “Handlers of Air,” an air handler is a central unit that consists of a blower and other heating and cooling elements. An air handler does not include the ductwork.

BTU– refers to a British Thermal Unit and equates to any unit of energy and is used in heating and cooling to mean the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Capacity– refers to the output of a piece of heating or cooling equipment and is often measured in BTUs.

CFM– the standard airflow measurement stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. 400 CFM is standard for most air conditioners.

Compressor– is the outdoor unit that pumps refrigerant. Your system’s compressor must maintain adequate pressure to pump the right amount of refrigerant to properly cool your home.

Condenser– a coil that is contained in your outdoor unit, the condenser coil dissipates the heat from the refrigerant.

Cycling– is the process of your HVAC system turning off and on. The less your system must cycle off and on to cool your home the more efficient.

Ductwork– doesn’t involve any wildlife and refers to the pipes that carry conditioned air throughout your home.

Heat Pump– a versatile unit that warms your home in the winter and cools your home during the summer. Heat pumps are best suited for milder climates.

SEER– refers to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures the cooling efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the number, the more energy-efficient the system.

Talk to an AC Pro in Houston

If you’re in our Houston, Texas service area and need air conditioner maintenance or repair (or if you just want to try out your new A/C Lingo Skills,) please give us a call or schedule online.


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