Air Conditioning Terms: Are You Cool With The Lingo?
Any time you need to get your air conditioner repaired or replaced, it helps to be familiar with the air conditioning terms used in the industry. Here’s a quick glossary of air conditioning terms, from A to Z:
- Air handler: The indoor A/C unit that cools and circulates the air.
- BTU, or British thermal unit: A basic unit used to measure heat transfer, such as the amount of heat removed from the air by an A/C system.
- CFM, or cubic feet per minute: It is used to measure how much air can be delivered by your A/C system. Airflow should be in the neighborhood of 400 CFM for each ton of A/C cooling capacity.
- Condensing unit: Another name for the outdoor air A/C unit that compresses and cools the refrigerant.
- Cooling load: The number of BTUs of cooling power needed to cool down your house.
- dB, or decibel: Unit used to measure how loud new A/C systems are. A 10-dB increase means the A/C is 10 times as loud.
- Delta T: The number of degrees that the air temperature drops as it passes through the air handler.
- NATE, or North American Technician Excellence: The professional certification program for air conditioning technicians.
- R-22: The type of refrigerant used in most A/C systems manufactured before 2010. It’s no longer manufactured and is being phased out.
- R-410A: The refrigerant used in most new systems instead of R-22.
- Safety cap: A locking cover that prevents access to an A/C unit’s refrigerant valves, thereby preventing refrigerant theft.
- SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio: A measurement of the average energy efficiency of an A/C system.
- Ton: A measure of A/C cooling capacity. It originally referred to the cooling power of a ton of ice, but is now more specifically defined as 12,000 BTUs.
- Zoning system: A series of dampers within the duct system that allows different parts of the house to be cooled independently.
If you have any questions about these or other air conditioning terms you come across, contact us at Smoky Mountain Heating & Air. We’ll be happy to help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioning terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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