Important Cooling Season HVAC Terms You Should Know
The more you know about HVAC and cooling, the better you’ll understand your facility’s HVAC system. Here are some important HVAC terms you may run into when dealing with your cooling system.
- Air filter — A rectangular, box-like object usually filled with spun fiberglass or pleated cloth. Air filters fit within the airflow of your cooling system and remove particulates such as dirt, pollen, and fibers.
- Blower — Another name for the fan that moves cooled air through the ductwork.
- Charge — The amount of refrigerant contained in your cooling system. Replacing refrigerant lost through leaks or other processes is known as recharging.
- Coil — Pipes or tubes that carry refrigerant and where the heat exchange that produces cooling takes place.
- Compressor — A device that circulates refrigerant through the system and increases its pressure.
- Condenser — A coil where gaseous refrigerant returns to its liquid state, releasing heat.
- Cooling load — The amount of cooling required to keep your indoor spaces at the temperature you or your tenants prefer. Knowing the cooling load makes it much easier to choose the right equipment to provide it.
- Ductwork — Sometimes simply called ducts, this is the network of metal pipes extending from the air conditioner unit to points throughout your facility. They are often made of round or rectangular metal segments fastened tightly together. The ductwork carries all of the cool air created by your air conditioner.
- Evaporator — A coil in which refrigerant changes state from liquid to gas, absorbing heat.
- Forced air — A forced-air cooling system involves a strong fan, or blower, that literally forces cooled air into the ductwork and out into your indoor spaces.
- Heat pump — A cooling system that works on the principle of moving heat from place to place. To provide cooling, a heat pump uses a refrigerant to capture heat from inside your building and moves it outdoors, where it is released.
- Load calculation — A sophisticated process for determining the cooling load of a particular structure. This involves careful assessment of numerous thermal and physical characteristics and computer-supported mathematical calculations.
- MERV — Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which is a measure of the effectiveness of an air filter at removing particulates and other contaminants from your indoor air. Average filters have MERV ratings around 6 to 8, whereas high-performance filters can have MERV numbers between 12 and 16. Extremely effective and specialized filters carry MERV ratings of 17 to 20.
- Refrigerant — A substance that captures heat and allows it to be moved from place to place.
- Return ducts — Sometimes referred to as returns or duct returns, these are the pipes that bring expended air back to your cooling system to be filtered, cooled, and distributed again. Proper cooling system function requires a balance of supply and return air.
- SEER — Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is an industry-standard indicator of the efficiency of a cooling system. Higher SEER numbers mean greater efficiency.
- Sizing — The process of choosing a cooling system with enough functional capacity to meet a building’s cooling load. This does not refer to physical size but to an air conditioner or heat pump’s ability to generate cooling.
- Supply ducts — The ductwork that carries cooled air from your HVAC unit to the inside of your building.
- Ton — A measurement of the amount of energy required to provide cooling. Air conditioners are often referred to in terms of tons.
- HVAC — Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, which is an overall term for the equipment and processes that heat and cool a space and help maintain good indoor air quality. Sometimes referred to as HVACR, which stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on important HVAC terms that will help you better understand your air conditioner or heat pump, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
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