10 HVAC Terms You Should Know


The HVAC industry has a lot of different terms that can be confusing if you don’t know what they mean. As a homeowner, there are some HVAC terms you should know. Here are the top 10.

  1. HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
    This is a term used to measure the efficiency of air source heat pumps and many times, air conditioners are rated by the HSPF. The higher the HSPF rating on a unit, the more energy efficient it is.
  2. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
    This term is used to rate the efficiency of air conditioners. The rating of the unit is calculated by the cooling output during a cooling season divided by the total electrical energy input during that season. The higher the unit is rated, the more energy efficient it is.
  3. MERV
    This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a measurement scale used to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The ratings are from 1 to 16 and it’s primarily used to show the worst-case performance of a filter when dealing with harmful air particles that are captured. For example, a MERV 16 filter could capture more than 95% of the particles.
  4. HVAC
    Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are used to offer comfort for users and help provide cleaner indoor air. The technology relies on mechanical engineering, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.
  5. BTU
    The British Thermal Unit is a unit of heat that is part of the British Imperial unit system. It’s defined as the amount of heat that is needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
  6. Ton
    A ton is the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. One ton is equal to the amount of heat that is needed to melt one ton of ice in a 24-hour time span. An air conditioner that is one ton would be rated at 12,000 BTU per hour.
  7. CFM
    This stands for cubic feet per minute is a measurement used to show the velocity at which air flows in or out of an area. To measure how much a room needs for heating, you would multiply the room’s volume by the number of times the heated air gets changed hourly, then divide that number by 60 to get the amount of CFM that’s needed.
  8. Hybrid Heat
    A hybrid heat system responds to fluctuating temperatures and automatically adjusts to the most energy saving method available to heat or cool a home. This is often used as a fuel-saving alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems.
  9. Variable Speed
    This term refers to the furnace’s indoor blower motor that will move at different speeds to accurately control the flow of heated and cooled air around the home.
  10. Modulating
    Modulating furnaces reduce temperature variations and provide consistent indoor temperatures and quiet operations. They are also known to have a fuel efficiency rate up to 98% which means that the fuel is used more efficiently and you’ll see less energy costs associated with using it.

If you have additional questions on HVAC terms and what it means for you and your home, contact our experienced team of professionals at Specialty Heating & Cooling today!

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