Common HVAC Terms You Need to Know

Knowing the different components of your air conditioning unit can help you better care for it. It will also keep you from looking lost and confused when talking to a qualified HVAC technician.

Common HVAC Terms


While you can’t expect to master all the concepts behind your HVAC system, having a solid grasp of the basics can get you far. And there’s no better place to start than by understanding the most basic terms that HVAC technicians use, such as those listed below.

  • MERV – the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value refers to the rating of your system’s filter, which is an important element in indoor air quality. The higher the MERV, the more efficient the filter is, with the highest rating being at 16. This is a hospital-grade filter capable of capturing the smallest particulates in the air.
  • Compressor – Sitting inside the condenser, the compressor is responsible for circulating and raising the amount of refrigerant in your system.
  • Heat Pump – Though the heat pump looks like a normal condensing unit, it uses electricity to efficiently heat your home during the cold season while also cooling it down during summer.
  • Line Set – The line set refers to the two lines connecting the evaporator coil and the condensing unit. The smaller copper tube is the liquid line, while the larger and more insulated one is the suction line.
  • SEER – The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio effectively measures the overall efficiency of your air conditioner. It calculates this by taking the BTU per hour of cooling and dividing it by the watts of electricity over an entire season. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient.
  • Register – The register is the cover over the ductwork’s inlets and outlets. The register lets you control the amount of airflow using a set of louvers.
  • Load Calculation –  This figure determines the of heating or cooling requirements of your interior space. To give you the proper system, your HVAC technician will do a load calculation to determine the exact amount of heat loss or heat gain there is in your home.
  • Air Handler – Paired with a split system air conditioner or a heat pump, the air handler is the unit found inside the house responsible for circulating air through the entire duct system. It contains components such as the blower and the evaporator coils and other heating and cooling elements.
  • Tonnage – This refers to the measure of the air conditioner’s cooling capacity. One ton of cooling is equivalent to 12,000 BTU per hour. BTUs, or British Thermal Units, is the measurement used to quantify the amount of heat an air conditioning unit can handle.

Amber Air Conditioning for All Your Heating and Air Conditioning Needs

Being aware of the basics will help you avoid technicians who may take advantage of your lack of knowledge. Thankfully, this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about when you work with us. Amber Air Conditioning is a family-owned heating and air conditioning company that has been in operation since 1976. In all our years in the business, homeowners and commercial property owners alike have come to depend on us to provide them with quick and tangible solutions for their heating and air conditioning woes.

Get started by calling us today at (951) 579-4523 and let’s schedule an inspection at your convenience.

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