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Heating and Air Industry Definitions

heating and air information

AFUE

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is a rating that reflects how efficiently a gas furnace converts fuel to energy. An AFUE of 90 means that approximately 90% of the fuel is utilized to provide warmth to your home, while the remaining 10% escapes as exhaust.

Air Cleaner (also Air Filtration System)

A device that removes allergens, pollutants and other undesirable particles from air that is heated or cooled.

Air Handler

The indoor component of your air conditioner or heating system that moves air throughout your home.

Variable Speed Motor

The fan motor inside of higher-efficiency indoor and outdoor units is designed to change its speed based on your home's heating and air conditioning requirements. Working in conjunction with your thermostat, it keeps the appropriate temperature air (e.g., warm air on cold days) circulating throughout your home, reducing temperature variances. The variable speed motor also increases dehumidification and is quiet because it runs at a low speed most of the time. Plus, the consistent air circulation eliminates noisy startups and shutdowns.

All-In-One System (also Packaged System)

An air conditioning and/or heating system in which all components are located in one cabinet. Used in certain localities and for certain building types, the all-in-one system is installed either beside or on top of your home.

BTU

British Thermal Unit, in scientific terms, represents the amount of energy required to raise in temperature one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU is the equivalent of the heat given off by a single wooden kitchen match. For your home, it represents the measure of heat given off when fuel is burned for heating or the measure of heat extracted from your home for cooling.

CFM

Cubic feet per minute is a standard of airflow measurement. A typical system produces 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.


Capacity

The output or producing capability of a piece of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and heating capacities are normally referred to in BTUs.

Compressor

The heart of an air conditioning or heat pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit that pumps refrigerant. The compressor maintains adequate pressure to cause refrigerant to flow in sufficient quantities in order to meet the cooling requirements of the system and your home.

Damper

Found in ductwork, this movable plate opens and closes to control airflow. Dampers are used effectively in zoning to regulate airflow to certain rooms.

Ductwork

Pipes or channels that carry air throughout your home.

Energy Star®

A program developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to reduce the nation's energy consumption. Energy Star-qualified heating equipment can be up to 15% more efficient than standard models. Energy Star-qualified cooling equipment can be up to 7% more efficient than minimum standard equipment.

Heat Pump

An outdoor unit that warms your home in winter and cools your home in summer.

HEPA filter

A High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing (HEPA) filter removes particles from the air by trapping them as air flows through.

HSPF

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor refers to the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps over an entire heating season. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

HVAC

The classic acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Today, an HVAC system also includes air cleaning and moisture control.

Load Calculation

A detailed analysis of your home's energy needs conducted by your dealer to help determine which comfort system is best for your home.

Matched System

A heating and cooling system where all of its components are matched in capacity and efficiency. This enables your system to perform at its best and most efficiently for longer.

NATE

North American Technician Excellence. It's the nationwide certification program for home heating and cooling technicians. It's the only certification that is recognized by the entire industry.

Refrigerant

A substance that produces a cooling effect. It's used in most air conditioning and cooling systems.

SEER

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a rating that measures the cooling efficiency of a heat pump or air conditioner. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

SEET

Seasonal Extreme Environmental Test. It's the American Standard testing facility for heating and air conditioning systems where the equivalent of five years of operation is condensed into 16 weeks of testing under harsh conditions. American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning wants to ensure your new system will be as reliable as possible.

Thermostat

A temperature-control device typically found on a wall inside the home or business. It consists of a series of sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of a heating and cooling system. Programmable thermostats allow you to program different levels of comfort for different times of the day.

Three-Stage Heating

Three-stage heating provides greater fuel efficiency and better comfort control by allowing for different modes of operation depending on the situation. Most of the time, three-stage heating operates at an energy-saving speed but can switch to other speeds when more heating is needed to provide comfort for your family.

Ton

A unit of measurement used for determining cooling capacity. One ton is the equivalent of 12,000 BTUs per hour.

Two-Stage Heating/Two-Stage Cooling

Two-stage heating and cooling is considered more efficient, because it operates at a low, energy-saving speed most of the time. However, on days when more heating or cooling is required, it switches to the next stage for maximum comfort.

Variable Speed Motor

The fan motor inside higher-efficiency indoor and outdoor units is designed to change its speed based on your home's heating and air conditioning requirements. Working in conjunction with your thermostat, it keeps the appropriate temperature air (e.g., warm air on cold days) circulating throughout your home or business, reducing temperature variances. The variable speed motor also increases dehumidification and is quiet because it runs at a low speed most of the time. Plus, the consistent air circulation eliminates noisy startups and shutdowns.