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9 HVAC Terms Every Homeowner Should Be Comfortable Using

Are you confused by the many HVAC terms your contractor uses when repairing or installing home comfort equipment? Get in on the conversation by learning the top nine HVAC terms every homeowner should be comfortable using.

  • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Air conditioners earn higher SEER ratings if they operate more efficiently. SEER 13 is the minimum rating required today.
  • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. Heat pumps earn higher HSPF ratings for higher operational efficiency. (Heat pumps also earn SEER ratings to indicate cooling efficiency.)
  • AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Furnaces earn this efficiency rating based on how efficiently they convert fuel into heat energy. The closer to 100 percent AFUE, the more efficient the system is.
  • Btu: British thermal unit. Heating and cooling capacity is measured in Btus, the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree. One Btu is about the amount of heat given off by a birthday candle. A one-ton air conditioner removes 12,000 Btus of heat per hour.
  • IAQ: Indoor air quality. Higher air quality means a healthier home. You can increase IAQ with pollution source control, ventilation and air cleaners.
  • HRV/ERV: Heat Recovery Ventilator and Energy Recovery Ventilator. HRVs restore heat to incoming air so ventilation can occur with minimal impact on utility bills. ERVs can preheat or pre-cool incoming air and transfer moisture as well for ventilation with the least impact on comfort and utility bills possible.
  • NATE: North American Technician Excellence. This nonprofit organization trains and certifies technicians based on stringent industry requirements.
  • R-22 and R-410A: Types of refrigerant. R-22, or Freon, is currently being phased out in favor of R-410A, or Puron. This alternative is more environmentally friendly than its harmful chlorine-containing counterpart.
  • Energy Star: Government-supported branding designed to help consumers make energy-conscious purchasing decisions. Energy Star is operated jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

Now that you’re comfortable with these top HVAC terms, you’re ready to have a contractor look into that repair or replacement. Contact HVAC Unlimited to work with a reputable, experienced contractor in Arlington.

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