Air Conditioning & Heating Terms

- Learn HVAC lingo to help you communicate with your Los Angeles AC contractor.

AFUE - Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. A measure of a gas furnace's efficiency in converting fuel to energy - the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit. For example: A rating of 90 means that approximately 90 percent of the fuel is used to provide warmth to your home, while the remaining 10 percent escapes as exhaust.

BTU - British Thermal Unit. This is the amount of heat it takes to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. 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. A standard measurement of airflow. A typical system requires 400 CFM per ton of air conditioning.

Capacity - The output or producing ability of a piece of cooling or heating equipment. Cooling and heating capacities are referred to on BTUs.

Compressor - The heart of an air conditioning or heat pump system. It is part of the outdoor unit and pumps refrigerant in order to meet the cooling requirements of the system.

Condenser Coil or Outdoor Coil - In an air conditioner, the coil dissipates heat from the refrigerant, changing the refrigerant from vapor to liquid. In a heat pump system, it absorbs heat from the outdoors.

Damper - Found in ductwork, this movable plate opens and closes to control airflow. Dampers can be used to balance airflow in a duct system. They are also used in zoning to regulate airflow to certain rooms.

Ductwork - Pipes or channels that carry air throughout your home. In a home comfort system, ductwork is critical to performance - in fact, it's as critical as the equipment.

Evaporator Coil or Indoor Coil - The other half of your air conditioning system located inside your home in the indoor unit. This is where the refrigerant evaporates as it absorbs heat from the air that passes over the coil.

Gas Furnace Heat Exchanger - Located in the furnace, the heat exchanger transfers heat to the surrounding air, which is then pumped throughout your home.

HSPF - Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This rating is used in measuring the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

MERV - Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings tell you what an advanced air cleaner is capable of doing. MERV 16 is high end for residential applications. MERV 17-20 is most often found in labs with radioactive or carcinogenic materials...meaning, not your place. MERV 16 will filter most tobacco smoke, all bacteria, and many other things including hair spray, mold spores, pollen, dust mites and the list continues.

Package Unit - A heating and cooling system contained in one outdoor unit. A package unit is typically installed either beside, on top of the home, or sometimes in the attic.

Refrigerant - A chemical that produces a refrigerating effect while expanding and vaporizing. Most residential air conditioning systems contain R-22 refrigerant. R-22 is regulated by international controls under the Montreal Protocol and in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is scheduled to be in production until the year 2020. It's used in approximately 95 percent of air conditioning equipment manufactured in the U.S. today.

SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A measure of cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps. The higher the seer, the more energy efficient the unit. The government's minimum SEER rating is 10. (It's similar to comparing miles per gallon in automobiles.)

Split System - The combination of an outdoor unit (air conditioner or heat pump) with an indoor unit (furnace or air handler). Split systems must be matched for optimum efficiency.

Thermostat - A thermostat consists of a series of sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of a heating and cooling system.

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

Warm Air Plenum - This is the ducting coming from your furnace or air handler that carries the heated air back into your home.

Zoning - A method of dividing a home into different comfort zones so each zone can be independently controlled depending on use and need.



Conserving Energy Really Is Important
Modern products make life much easier for us all, but some of them are hurting our environment at alarming rates. Fortunately, manufacturers are taking strides to product energy efficient products and alternative energy solutions that are paving the way for a much better tomorrow.
HVAC & Energy Consumption
Your home heating and cooling system will typically eat up half of your monthly utility bill. All of your computers, blenders, lights and gadgets still will not equal the cost of staying comfortable.
What You Can Do
As mentioned above, technology is coming around with better solutions that are more affordable than ever. Even the most expensive green options, like geothermal and solar energy, are become more affordable every day. Homeowners who cannot afford a new, more efficient HVAC system can still take steps to save energy, like regular system maintenance, enhanced air filtration and more.
Pursue Efficient Solutions
When a Los Angeles AC contractor comes to your home for service work on your heating and cooling system, what is the goal? To save money with the lowest cost fix for a problem? Not the best plan.

Homeowners need to enable their CA HVAC dealer to provide efficient, energy saving products. Often, a dealer is hammered with customers who just want the lowest price. This forces them to put in cheap product to satisfy customer demand. This in turn just prolongs poor environmental practice nation wide.

If you are in search of a local dealer you can trust, check our list of recommended contractors: CA AC
Geothermal Energy
The greenest way to keep your home comfortable is definitely via either solar energy or a geothermal heat pump (GHP). A GHP uses the constant temperature of the earth as a renewable energy source, exchanging energy during the different seasons to keep your home comfortable the same way a normal electric heat pump would. Renewable Energy
Who We Are
Get More Comfortable is a free information resource dedicated to educating homeowners about the products and best practice behind heating and cooling. We can clarify concepts and give you the latest advice. How? Because we are owned by the largest privately held HVAC distributer in the United States.

Since we are owned by industry experts, we know heating and cooling. Plus, Get More Comfortable isn't pushing a brand at you. There are many manufacturers out there making great product. At Get More Comfortable we'll teach you about important concepts, help you learn about things you didn't know were possible.

Our goal is to enable you as a homeowner, to be more confident in HVAC decisions while also moving you to new products and solutions that save energy and give you much more control over the comfort levels in your home. We are confident that when you learn about the many possibilities of residential HVAC, you might actually get excited to try some of them out!

For comments or questions about this site or residential comfort control, use the contact form on our home page. We are not distributing your information to SPAM lists, but simply routing requests to local specialists who can get you the right answer.

We hope that by using this site, you will truly be able to Get More Comfortable.
"My wife and I had a hybrid system installed for our home since fuel prices are pretty high in our area. The dealer we used didn't install it correctly, and for an entire year we didn't benefit at all from the extra expense we paid for hybrid heating.

I talked to the Get More Comfortable team, and they recommended a new thermostat that would handle my existing system. I ordered it, had it installed, and now for the first time we are truly saving money with our home heating system. I highly recommend them!"


- K & S / Memphis, TN
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