6 Common HVAC Terms That Everyone Should Know

If something goes wrong with your HVAC system, you’re not going to be a happy camper. You’re either going to be really cold or really hot.

So when the technician comes to repair things, you may not have the patience to really listen to what they say. Or you may not know the vocabulary.

That’s where we come in. We’re defining some HVAC terms for you below.


1. Allergen

We hear about allergens in the air- but what are they really? What do they have to do with your HVAC system?

Well, an allergen can be anything that’s not organically in the air. That means pollen, dirt, dust, or even pet hair/dander. These are things you let into your house, sometimes just by having a pet.

Other times they come in when you open windows and doors. If the pollen is really bad outside, it can even come in on your clothes or shoes.

Allergens get sucked into your vents and get recirculated throughout the house.

This is one reason it’s so important to replace your air filters on a regular schedule. They can get saturated with dirt and dust, which makes them stop filtering efficiently.

2. Compressor

If you’re having trouble with a cooling system, you may hear someone say there’s an issue with your compressor. Think of the compressor as a pump that distributes cooling gas (called refrigerant).

When it’s broken or has a leak, cooling gets a lot less efficient, if it doesn’t stop altogether.

3. Energy Star Efficiency

When you buy a new furnace, washing machine, or even a dishwasher you have choices. Choices of the quality and price, but also of the unit’s efficiency – how well the unit uses resources.

Units that use resources well are “Energy Star” certified means it’s earned the EPA’s seal of approval. These cost more up front but they’ll save you money down the line.

4. HEPA Filter

When we talked about allergens we talked about the importance of changing your air filter. There’s a good chance that air filter (if it’s up to date) is a HEPA filter.

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter – which just means it’s really good at what it does.

5. Two State Heating/Cooling

You know those days in the spring where the weather can’t decide what it wants to do? It’s cold one day, then hot the other? If you have a two-state heating/cooling system, you can set it up to react to this.

Most of the time the system will use it’s low motor, trying to control your inside temp by using as little power as possible. But if it needs more help, the other motor will kick into gear.

6. Zoning

You know about school zoning and even residential vs business zoning. But did you know there’s zoning inside your house?

It’s true. HVAC zoning is when the system is set up in areas of the home if you will. For example, if you have a basement, you can turn off that zone in the winter – to save on heating cost.

Moving Forward with These HVAC Terms

With these HVAC terms under your belt, you’ll know exactly what the technician is talking about when they come to save the day. Along with knowing what you’re paying for, you can know that your family will be living in comfort again, soon.

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