If you experience cooling system troubles this season, you’ll have an easier time describing the problem and understanding the diagnosis and remedy your technician recommends if you know some relevant HVAC terminology. We’ve put together a list of frequently-used cooling-specific HVAC terms that can help.
- SEER — This is an acronym for the efficiency rating given to cooling equipment, and it stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. It gives you the ratio of the equipment’s cooling output divided by its energy usage over one season. Numerical SEER ratings increase as efficiency improves, so higher-rated equipment is more efficient.
- Capacity — Also referred to as cooling capacity, this tells you how much heat the equipment moves in one hour’s time. The common capacity measurement is a “ton,” which is 12,000 Btu of heat.
- Refrigerant — This is the chemical compound used as a heat transfer mechanism in a cooling system. It gets pumped through the refrigerant lines and coils in a closed, continuous loop and transforms from liquid to gas form to absorb and release heat.
- Air handler — The indoor portion of a split-system A/C or heat pump, the air handler houses several key cooling components including the evaporator, air filter, blower and condensate drain system.
- Evaporator — Also called the cooling coil, this is where heat absorption occurs. Refrigerant enters the coil as a chilled liquid, then converts into a gas as it pulls heat energy from the indoor air.
- Blower — This fan pulls stale indoor air in from the return ductwork, draws it over the coil for cooling, then circulates freshly-cooled air out through your home via the supply ducts.
- Compressor — Your outdoor unit houses this vital component that pressurizes and pumps refrigerant through the system’s loop of copper lines and coils.
- Condenser — Also situated in the outdoor unit is the condenser coil that’s responsible for expelling captured heat into the outdoor air. Refrigerant enters the coil as a hot gas and releases the heat it contains as it transforms back into a liquid.
To learn more cooling season HVAC terms, contact the San Diego home comfort pros at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater
area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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