Do you ever dread calling a mechanic, pest control company, or other service provider because you don’t quite know how to explain whatever problem or other service need you might have?

At the same time, do you wonder of the person on the receiving end is silently laughing as you stumble through the ultimate in layman’s language?

Well, even more frustrating is when you can’t get it right, they have no idea what you’re talking about, and the best they can offer is: “The service technician will discuss this with you when he arrives.”  That’s not a terrible outcome, mind you, but wouldn’t communication be more of a breeze, pardon the pun, if you knew at least a handful of air conditioning terminology? Not just when calling in a problem, but when purchasing a new system.

Assuming you agree, here’s an AC primer you can – at the least – impress your friends with.

BTUh – British thermal units per hour. For example, 12,000 BTUh equals a ton of cooling.

Thermostat – Monitors and controls the functions of a heating and cooling system.

Split System – The most common type of system installed, it’s the combination of an outdoor unit (heat pump or air conditioner) with an indoor unit (air handler or furnace).

Compressor – Often called the heart of the system, it circulates refrigerant from the indoor evaporator to the outdoor condenser and back again.

Condenser Fan – It distributes air over the condenser which cools it to the desired temperature.

Condenser coil – Also called the outdoor coil, it’s a series of tubes filled with refrigerant that remove heat from the gaseous refrigerant and converts it back to a liquid state.

Evaporator Coil – Also called the indoor coil, it’s a network of tubes filled with refrigerant that removes moisture and heat from indoor air as liquid refrigerant evaporates.  

Refrigerant – The chemical used in refrigerators, heat pumps, and air conditioners to move heat into or out of an interior space. By boiling at a very low temp, it can evaporate and absorb heat.

Refrigerant Charge – The amount of refrigerant required in a system.

MERV – An abbreviation for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which is the standard method for comparing the efficiency of an air filter. Ranging from 1 to 16, it measures how well a filter removes particles from the air. The higher the rating, the better.

SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.  It’s a measure of annual or seasonal efficiency of a central AC system or heat pump. The higher a unit’s SEER, the greater its energy efficiency.

Okay, so now you know a little more. Still, Nero doesn’t expect you to become an HVAC expert – we’ve got that area covered. But any little bit we can do to help facilitate clear and concise communication – let’s just say we’re always glad to help.  Contact us today to report a service issue, for a free in-home new system proposal, or for any other indoor comfort need.

Air Conditioning Terms You Should Know

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