Basic HVAC Terminology: Some Tips From Palm Harbor

Ever try to look up basic information about your heating and air conditioning systems in Palm Harbor? There are dozens of terms that might as well be Greek for all you know – a mishmash of words and phrases talking about energy efficiency and air flow ratios. To make your next upgrade a little easier and give you a baseline with which to work, here are a few of the most common HVAC terms you’ll hear in the industry:

  • AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency): This is a simple measurement of how much fuel a furnace converts into actual heat in your home. So, if a furnace converts 92% of the fuel it consumes into heat, it has an AFUE rating of 92.
  • Watts: A single watt is a measurement of electricity. Commonly, your electricity use is assured in kilowatts or kilowatt hours (kWh).
  • BTU (British Thermal Unit): A BTU is a common measurement of how much energy is produced or consumed by an appliance. When referring to an air conditioner, one ‘ton’ refers to 12,000 BTUs.
  • SEER/EER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio refers to how many BTUs can be produced with a single Watt of electricity per hour. So, an air conditioner with an SEER of 14 can produce 14 BTUs of cooling per watt consumed each hour.
  • HSPF ( Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Refers to the efficiency of the heating elements in your heat pump.
  • COP (Coefficient of Performance): A measurement of how effective your heat pump is at heating a space compared to standard electrical resistance heat. The lower the temperature gets outside, the lower the COP will be. Equipment is usually measured for COP at 47 and 17 degrees to give an idea of seasonal performance of a new heat pump.
  • Refrigerant: Refrigerant is any gas that is used to draw heat from the air in a particular environment through an air conditioner or heat pump. It has a much lower boiling point than water, allowing it to cool despite the temperature outside. Currently, most equipment uses R-22 refrigerant while the new standard will be R-410A (Puron), legally required in all cooling units by 2020.
  • CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute): Used to measure the volume of air passed through an air handler by an air conditioner or furnace.

There are a number of complicated details to keep track of when choosing a new air conditioner or furnace. To ensure you get the very best out of your system, read up on these details in advance – you’ll feel a heck of a lot smarter when you call.

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