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HVAC Terms Defined

We know that, most likely, you are not a heating and cooling technician. It’s our job to understand all the ins and outs of the HVAC biz, and we do our best to make things as clear as possible when explaining your particular situation. But there are a few terms you may want to familiarize yourself with…in case you’re curious!

BTU: This stands for British Thermal Unit, which is a standardized measure for heat generation. One BTU is the amount of heat needed to increase water temperature by one degree Fahrenheit. With air conditioners, the higher the BTU number, the more powerful the system.

Compressor/Condenser Coil: These are the two most critical parts of an air conditioner or heat pump. The compressor is situated outdoors and pumps the refrigerant needed to cool your home. The condenser coil receives the highly pressurized refrigerant and releases the heat outside, thereby cooling the refrigerant and cycling it back inside the unit.

Ductwork: The system of tubes through which air is channeled from the furnace or blower coil and circulated throughout your home.

Heat Pump: A device that heats or cools a space by moving heat between two reservoirs.

HVAC: This is probably the most common acronym in the industry. It stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning,” the three functions most often combined into a single system in modern homes and buildings. An HVAC system is the whole of all the individual parts that control the climate in your home.

IAQ: Indoor Air Quality. This defines the levels of pollutants that are found in your home, including pollen, dust, bacteria, mold, mildew, dander, etc.

NATE Certification: NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence and is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for HVAC technicians. Appel’s service manager and technicians are NATE Certified.

Thermostat: This is the device, typically mounted on your wall, that controls the temperature inside your home. Many thermostats these days are programmable—so that you can set it to a schedule and run the air conditioning or heat less often when you’re sleeping or not at home—and can be connected to the internet so you can control the climate of your home while you’re away.