The importance of learning certain A/C terms may not be immediately apparent, especially in light of all the other responsibilities that come with home ownership. However, taking a little time to understand how your air conditioning system works and learning its basic components and related terms will give you an advantage when it comes time to service or upgrade your A/C or heat pump.
Here are 10 A/C terms that will do just that:
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The cooling efficiency rating for A/Cs and heat pumps over one season. Federal minimum standards are SEER 13, high-efficiency A/Cs begin at SEER 16, and the units max out at SEER 26. In general, the higher the SEER rating is, the higher the energy savings each month.
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The rating that shows the ability of an air conditioner to perform at higher temperatures, similar to vehicle mileage on the highway. The rating shows how much cooling output the system generates compared to the amount of electrical input it requires.
- Air handler. The indoor component consisting of a fan and a motor that pushes cooled air into the ductwork. It works in tandem with the evaporator coil.
- Condenser/compressor. The outside unit in a split-system A/C or heat pump that releases heat that’s been removed from the home as part of the air conditioning process. In a heat pump’s heating function, it extracts heat from the outside air and sends it inside.
- Expansion valve. The device that meters the flow of refrigerant in an A/C or heat pump.
- Refrigerant. The chemical formula that facilitates the transference of heat when it transitions from liquid to gas and back to liquid again.
- Refrigerant line. Usually constructed of copper tubing, this line joins the two units (condenser/compressor and evaporator/air handler) together in a heat pump or A/C, and allows refrigerant to flow between them.
- Coils. Both the outdoor unit and indoor unit in a split-system A/C or heat pump house a set of coils to facilitate heat transfer.
- Heat exchanger. This part allows the transfer of heat in the condenser and evaporator, allowing heat to be removed or added from the home to facilitate cooling of the home.
- Ductwork. A series of tubes that delivers cooled and heated air into the living spaces. It takes air from your forced-air heating or cooling equipment to the registers in your home’s rooms.
If you have questions about your air conditioner, or you’d like a better understanding of A/C terms, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning today. We serve homeowners in the greater Fresno area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about A/C Terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock