The 411 On HVAC Acronyms

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The 411 On HVAC Acronyms

7 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning engineers are responsible for designing and installing heating and air conditioning systems for your home. You might look at this as a sort of blue collar job which requires technicians to simply install AC units, but it is much more than that. In fact, you have to have an understanding of thermodynamics in order to effectively design a system to heat and cool a home. While you don't need the same degree to buy an AC unit, it doesn't hurt to speak the same language as technicians, and this is where understanding commonly used acronyms can be helpful.


You might hear a technician talking about HVAC equipment. This is not some sort of back formation of vacuum like a wet/dry vac is. Instead, it is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.


You might hear a technician say something like, "This is a 48,000 BTU unit." The large number sounds impressive, but what does it really mean? A BTU is a British Thermal Unit and is equal to the amount of heat produced by burning a kitchen match all the way down. An AC system has to be sized correctly to efficiently cool a home. The larger your home is, the more BTUs your AC unit will need to extract from your home. An undersized unit will struggle to keep up with the cooling needs of your home, and thus increase your costs and decrease your comfort. An oversized unit will cycle on and off more than it should, and thus lead to premature wear and higher repair costs.


An energy efficiency ratio is a way of measuring how much electricity your unit uses at a predetermined outside temperature, inside temperature, and relative humidity. The higher the EER number is, the more efficient your unit is. 


The seasonal energy efficiency ratio is a measure of how much energy a unit uses over a range of temperatures. Because temperatures are not consistent, the SEER is a better measure of how your AC unit will perform over the course of a cooling season. 

In order to buy the most appropriate AC unit for you home, you should have some idea of how large your unit should be and how efficient it is. Just because you buy a correctly sized unit does not mean you have the most efficient unit. You also need to look at your unit's efficiency ratings to make sure that you are getting the most value for your money. 

For professional HVAC services, contact a company such as Dodds Heating & Cooling.