HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It is a technology used to provide comfortable temperatures and air quality in indoor spaces. With this technology comes its own language of terms and acronyms that can be confusing to the uninitiated. To help clear up any confusion, our team at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical is here to share some common HVAC jargon definitions so you can better understand what your technician is saying during an appointment. Knowing these definitions will help you communicate more effectively with technicians so they can better serve your needs and you can make the most informed decisions about your home’s comfort.

  • Air Handler: An air handler is a device that moves heated or cooled air throughout the house. It is typically connected to the furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner and works with fans, filters, coils, and dampers to distribute the conditioned air evenly throughout the space.
  • BTU: Standing for British Thermal Unit, this is a unit of measurement that measures the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTU ratings are associated with heating and cooling systems as well as water heater units.
  • Evaporator Coil: This component within your air conditioner or heat pump holds chilled refrigerant to remove heat from your home’s air—to assist in completing the heat exchange process.
  • Compressor: A compressor (or air compressor) is an integral part of an air conditioner. It pumps refrigerant through the system, compressing it so that it can move more efficiently—allowing your AC to lower temperatures in your home.
  • SEER: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures a system’s efficiency. A higher SEER number means that the system is more energy-efficient, using less energy to cool or heat your space.
  • MUA: Known as a makeup air unit, and sometimes referred to as an MAU, this system is primarily geared toward commercial and industrial buildings. It incorporates fresh air into the air inside—distributing it through the ductwork . This not only keeps a comfortable temperature but also helps in maintaining clean indoor air quality.
  • Ductwork: Ducts are the passageways in which air flows through your home. They can either be rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. A section of ducts, known as return ducts, is for drawing air in and filtering it through your heating or cooling system to condition the air before supply ducts transfer the conditioned air around your home.
  • Mini-Split: These convenient units can both heat and cool individual rooms around your home, making them ideal for large or oddly shaped spaces such as room additions or garages. They operate by utilizing an outdoor condenser that leads into an indoor unit, also known as an evaporator.
  • IAQ: Standing for Indoor Air Quality, this measures the concentration of pollutants or contaminants in your building’s air. When air is stagnant, it often results in an increase of pollutants when compared to the outdoors.
  • Heat Pump: Contrary to the name, these units can heat and cool your space by transferring heat through a compression system and circulating it through your home.
  • Boiler: Boilers heat water and use tubing, either in the form of radiators, in-floor radiant tubing, or baseboard tubing, to distribute it throughout your home to heat your space.
  • Furnace: Typically running off of either natural gas or electricity, these units can create a lot of heat that is then fed into a ventilation system—often ductwork—to spread the heat around your home.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it is a great jumping off point to have deeper conversations with your HVAC technician about the health, capacity, and longevity of your heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

If any aspect of your HVAC system no longer functions as well as it used to, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professionals at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical. We offer installation, repair, maintenance, and replacement solutions throughout Ontario and the surrounding areas. Call us at (909) 500-8193 or reach out online.