If you are upgrading your air conditioner this summer, you are likely to hear a number of unfamiliar words, acronyms or phrases. To help you understand what is being referred to, here is a short list of air conditioning terms that you should know:
- Cooling load: The amount of work that an A/C must perform to keep your house cool on the hottest day of the summer. By calculating the cooling load, the HVAC technician can recommend a system that is the perfect size to meet your needs.
- British thermal unit (BTU): A measurement of heat change. A larger A/C can remove more BTUs of heat from your home.
- Ton: The size of air conditioners is often measured in tons, though it has nothing to do with the weight of the unit. One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs of cooling capacity.
- Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER): An energy-efficiency rating. The SEER of an air conditioner is the number of BTUs it can produce per watt of electricity, on average.
- Energy efficiency ratio (EER): A rating quite similar to SEER, except that it is not an average. Instead, it measures energy efficiency at a set temperature and humidity level.
- Refrigerant: The cold liquid (or gas) that an A/C uses to cool the air. When upgrading your air conditioner, the refrigerant from your old system must be recaptured and recycled.
- Checking the charge: The act of measuring how much refrigerant is in your A/C system.
- Delta T: The number of degrees that the air is cooled by as it passes through the air conditioner.
- Coils: Each air conditioner has two radiator-like coils: an indoor coil that cools the air, and an outdoor coil that cools the refrigerant.
- Compressor: The pump that pressurizes the refrigerant and keeps it flowing through the A/C system.
- Expansion valve: The valve which then lowers the pressure of the refrigerant, allowing it to absorb heat from the air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about upgrading your air conditioner and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.