HVAC Decoded: Common Heating Terms to Know this Winter
Knowing the HVAC terms that refer to your home’s heating system can help you understand how it works. This knowledge may help you get the most comfort, efficiency and durability from your equipment and make good choices if and when you need to replace it.
- AFUE. Short for annual fuel utilization efficiency, this describes how efficiently combustion heating systems use fuel to create heat versus wasting it up the chimney. You can find your equipment’s rating on the EnergyGuide label or on the furnace housing. A higher AFUE is always better because the furnace converts more of the fuel to home heat instead of losing it up the chimney.
- Air filter. Furnaces and heat pumps use filters to keep the system cleaner. A clean filter improves your heating system’s efficiency by allowing air to flow freely through the furnace.
- Burner. All combustion heating systems use burners, which is where the fuel for heating is burned.
- BTU. The measurements that describe the size of your system are called BTUs (British thermal units). Higher BTU systems have a greater heat output. You can find your system’s size on the EnergyGuide label, in the owner’s manual, or on the furnace housing.
- Heat exchanger. The heat exchanger sits next to the burner and warms the air that the blower brings over this exchanger. It’s important to keep the heat exchanger clean through routine filter replacement and professional maintenance. A dirty heat exchanger can crack, causing carbon monoxide to enter your home’s air. A cracked heat exchanger can force you to replace your heating system prematurely.
- Heat pump. A heat pump doesn’t use fuel, but rather harvests heat from the outdoor air. In our climate, heat pumps are often combined with a gas furnace to supply heat when temperatures fall near freezing.
To learn more about HVAC systems and home heating, contact Sobieski Services, Inc.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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