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Air Conditioning Terms: Understanding The Lingo

Posted on August 28, 2012

Air conditioning terms, just like central air conditioning technology, have gotten more complex recently. However, if you’re considering an A/C upgrade, scheduling a service call or just looking for ways to improve efficiency, you need to know the lingo. Technical terms get thrown around fast at such times, and a general knowledge of the nomenclature helps you ask the right questions and understand the answers. Here are some air conditioning terms, acronyms and general jargon to add to your vocabulary:

Air handler: It’s the indoor component of a central air conditioner. The air handler incorporates the blower fan and the evaporator coil. It’s also the place where you change your A/C filter.

Condenser coil: Located outside in the compressor cabinet, the condenser receives the hot refrigerant concentrated by the compressor. As the refrigerant circulates through the coil, it condenses and sheds heat extracted from the house into outdoor air.

Cooling load: The amount of heat your air conditioner has to remove from the house every hour to maintain a consistent 78 degree temperature. Cooling load accurately calculated by an HVAC contractor is vital when sizing a new A/C unit.

Evaporator coil:
 In a central A/C, it’s located inside the air handler. The evaporator circulates cold refrigerant at a temperature of about 45 degrees. As the blower fan draws the home’s warm air across the coil, heat is extracted, cooling the air.

SEER: It stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Think of it as the air conditioning equivalent of the EPA miles-per-gallon rating on a car. SEER represents the BTUs of heat an A/C unit extracts divided by the amount of electricity the unit consumes. The federally set minimum SEER rating for a central air conditioner is 13.

Two-stage operation: Available in high-efficiency A/C units, a dual-stage compressor automatically shifts to reduced output when the cooling load declines. This reduces energy consumption and provides more consistent cooling than single-stage units.

Comfort Services is the local source of quality HVAC sales and service for Wichita area homeowners. We’re here to explain any air conditioning terms or home comfort issues you may have. Give us a call today.

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