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HVAC Terms Every Homeowner Should Know

HVAC terms

Being a homeowner, it’s important to understand terms and concepts related to the upkeep of your HVAC system. Knowing how your unit works and what terminology is used in the industry can help relieve some of the stress when it comes time to invest in servicing or repairing your system. That’s why we’ve rounded up all the essential HVAC terms you need to know as a homeowner so that you’re better prepared when faced with decisions regarding your home’s comfort systems!

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and is a unit of measurement for heat. One BTU is equivalent to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTUs are often used to measure the capacity of heating and cooling systems.

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures how efficiently a cooling system uses energy. The higher the EER, the more efficient the system.


HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor and is a measure of how much energy a heating system uses throughout a season. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the system

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and measures how efficiently a furnace uses fuel. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures how efficiently an air conditioner uses energy for a season. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a measure of an air filter’s ability to remove particles from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the better an air filter removes particles from the air.

COP stands for Coefficient of Performance and measures a heat pump’s efficiency in converting electricity into heat. The higher the COP, the more efficient the heat pump.

Air Handler:
An air handler is a component of an HVAC system that circulates air throughout the home. Air handlers typically include an air filter, fan, and coils or blower to circulate air throughout the ductwork of the home.

A condenser is a component of an HVAC system that removes heat from the refrigerant and releases it outdoors. Condensers are located outside the home near an exterior wall or on top of a roof.

Evaporator Coil:
An evaporator coil is a component of an HVAC system that absorbs heat from indoor air and transfers it to the refrigerant. Evaporator coils are typically located inside the home, in an attic, or crawlspace.

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