Heating and Air Conditioning – Glossary of Terms

Heating and Air Conditioning – Glossary of Terms

Need help understanding your home heating and air conditioning system? Following are some commonly used terms in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. You may find these helpful when dealing with a heating contractor or cooling contractor. If you have additional questions, feel free to find a York Heating and Cooling contractor today.

AFUE: AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measure of a furnace’s heating efficiency. The higher the AFUE %, the more efficient the product.
Air Handler: The piece of equipment in the central air conditioning or heat pump system that moves heated or cooled air throughout a home’s ductwork. In some systems a furnace handles this function.

ASHRAE 90.1: An energy standard for buildings (except low-rise residential buildings) published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Belt Drive Blower: A fan motor that operates with a belt driven by a motor rather than directly attached to a motor. Belt drives are commonly used on commercial grade equipment.

BTU: British Thermal Unit. The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water (about one pint) by one degree F.

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CFM: Cubic Feet per Minute. A measure of the rate of airflow. The higher the CFM, the more air is flowing through the system. Home comfort systems typically deliver 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.

ClimaTrak: A proprietary York® technology that allows the operating cycle of a furnace to be adjusted to suit the particular requirements of a home and local climate area.
Comfort: Comfort Rating as used is a combined measure of motor or compressor performance, sound and controllability. For example, variable speed technology typically provides more precise and more quiet operation, and therefore gets a high Comfort Rating.

Compressor: The mechanical component in the outdoor air conditioner or heat pump that compresses and pumps refrigerant to the indoor air handler.
Demand Defrost: A mode of heat pump operation that changes refrigerant flow to warm the outdoor coil to prevent freezing.

ECM: Electronically Commutated Motor. An advanced type of electric motor design that allows gradual changes in speed for quieter, more efficient operation.

Efficiency: Efficiency is a factor of how much power it takes to do a useful amount of work. There are two efficiency ratings for cooling: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), and two for heating: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).

ENERGY STAR: A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that administers certification of energy efficient products. An ENERGY STAR model uses at least 15-25% less energy than standard models. You can ENERGY STAR heat pumps, ENERGY STAR furnaces, and ENERGY STAR air conditioning units by York heating and cooling.

Five-Speed ECM Fan Motor: A fan motor inside an air handling unit or furnace that operates at five different speeds to meet home comfort requirements with more precision than a single-speed motor.

HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. A measure of a heat pump’s heating efficiency. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the product.

MBH: Stands for thousands of BTUs per hour, a measure of heating capacity for gas furnaces.

MERV 16: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. A rating for air filters based on the size of filter holes. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the filter holes.

MicroChannel Coil: A technology developed in the automotive radiator industry and now used in air conditioning cooling coils employing all-aluminum construction for outstanding durability in a more compact profile than copper coils.

Modular: A design that can fit in a number of different configurations, which is typically necessary in air handling units.

Modulating Burner: A burner design technology that employs fires in 100 different increments to provide more energy efficient and comfortable heating.

Multi-Position: Stands for a type of cabinet configuration used for gas furnaces to allow the heat supply and exhaust vents to be positioned in various locations.

Multi-Speed Blower Motor: A fan motor inside an air handling unit or furnace that operates at a range of different fixed speeds to meet home comfort requirements with more precision than fixed-speed motors.

PSC: Permanent Split Capacitor. A proven type of electric motor design.

QuietDrive: QuietDrive™ is a proprietary York® product design that reduces operating noise and expenses with a high-efficiency compressor, isolated compressor compartment, swept-wing fan design, and composite base pan.

R-410A: A non-CFC refrigerant fluid that provides environmentally friendly and efficient performance in heat pumps and air conditioners.

SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A measure of an air conditioner’s cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the product. The government’s established minimum SEER rating for air conditioners manufactured after January 2006 is 13.

Sensible Recovery: A measurement used to determine the amount of energy passed between airstreams in a heat or energy recovery ventilator, which typically recapture 60%-85% of the outgoing air’s sensible heat.

Single Phase: A single phase electric system distributes alternating current electricity in one simultaneous wave pattern, which is typical for household current and residential appliances.

Single Piece: A design that integrates all major components in a single housing, which is typically found in packaged heating and cooling units and air handling units.

Single-Speed Blower Motor: A fan motor inside an air handling unit or furnace that meets home comfort requirements by operating at one fixed speed.

Single-Stage Burner: A basic burner design method that employs an all on or all off firing method.

Standard Speed Fan Motor: A fan motor inside an air handling unit or furnace that meets home comfort requirements by operating at one fixed speed.

Three Phase: A three phase electric system distributes alternating current in three different, but equally timed sequences to allow the electric motor to produce constant torque, which is typically required by industrial-grade motors.

Tons: Ton stands for Ton of Refrigeration, which is a measure of cooling capacity. One ton is the equivalent of 12,000 BTUs per hour.

Two-Stage Burner: A burner technology that employs a low and high level of firing for more energy efficient heating.

Two-Stage Compressor: A compressor technology that employs a low and high level of operation for more energy efficient cooling.

Variable-Speed Blower Motor: A fan motor inside an air handling unit or furnace that varies speed based on your home’s comfort requirements. It provides more precise and quieter operation than fixed-speed motors.

X13: A specific type of electronically commutated electric motor used in certain York® air handling unit and furnace blowers.