Glossary of Terms for Heating

Glossary of Terms for HeatingWhether you have a heat pump, furnace or another source of heat for your home, it’s important that you understand how they work. Our team of professionals at A-1 American has compiled a list of heating terms below. It will make purchasing a new heating system or having it installed or repaired a little less daunting. Use our heating glossary as a guide when speaking with an HVAC professional. It will help you to better understand what system you’re getting, or to know what needs repair.

Contact the experts at A-1 American Services 24/7 for emergency heating repair.
Call today: Southside, 757-425-2400; Peninsula, 757-595-9900; Williamsburg 757-565-1900.

Heating Glossary:

Airflow: How and where the air is moved or distributed in a heating system.

British Thermal Unit (BTU): Widely known as a BTU, it’s the amount of energy needed to elevate a pound of water by one Fahrenheit degree. It measures the amount of heat given off when either fuel is burned for heating or when heat is being extracted from your home cooling system.

Capacity: The ability of a heating system to heat or cool a given amount of space. It’s usually expressed in BTUs.

Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM): It measures airflow by how many cubic feet of air passes by a stationary point over the duration of one minute. The higher the CFMnumber, the greater the amount of air being moved through the system’s ductwork by the HVAC system.

Compressor: Part of the outdoor air conditioning or heat pump unit that compresses and pumps refrigerant to an adequate pressure, causing refrigerant to flow as needed.

Condenser Coil: The outdoor component of a heat pump that collects heat.

Damper: A plate or gate that’s placed in an air duct to control airflow by increasing the amount of friction within the duct.

Dual Fuel: An HVAC system that pairs an electric heat pump with a gas furnace, providing an energy-efficient alternative to the conventional furnace and air conditioner combination.

Ductwork: Channels which carry air from the furnace or heat pump throughout your home.

Evaporator: The evaporator is the cold part of an air conditioner or heat pump that absorbs or adds heat to the system. Evaporators can be used to absorb heat from air or a liquid.

Lennox FurnaceFurnace: An indoor HVAC component that heats the air by burning fuel such as natural gas propane or oil in a heat exchanger.

Heat Exchanger: A part of the furnace that transfers heat to the surrounding air, which is then pumped throughout the home.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): The circulation system for a home or office that controls the comfort level and temperature.

Heat Pump: An outdoor HVAC unit that heats or cools by moving heat. During the cold months, a heat pump draws heat from the outdoor air and circulates it through your home’s air ducts. It’s an air conditioner in reverse.

Horizontal Flow: The flow caused by a furnace positioned on its side, which circulates air in on one end and then out the other.

Pilot: A small gas flame which ignites gas at the main burner of heating equipment.

Reversing Valve: The valve that changes an air conditioner to a heat pump and vice versa.

Single Package: A heating and cooling system that’s housed in one outdoor unit.

Split System: An HVAC system in which one unit is located inside the house and one unit is located outside, such as an outdoor air conditioner and an indoor furnace with a coil.

Thermostat: This temperature control device for heating and air conditioning systems is usually found on an inside wall. This device allows you to control and regulate your heating and cooling equipment. The unit can be turned on and off at the thermostat. A thermostat can be set to activate or shut off the heating or air conditioning when the indoor air temperature reaches a specific degree level in Fahrenheit. Some models can programmed to certain temperatures based on the time of day and day of the week.

Two-Stage Operation: Provides two different levels of heating or cooling output. This creates improved temperature control, indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Upflow: A flow pattern from an upright-positioned furnace which circulates air through the side or bottom and then out through the top.

Ventilator: A system that replaces stale, re-circulated indoor air with fresh, filtered outside air.

Venting System: An open passageway from the flue collar or draft hood of a gas-burning appliance to the outside atmosphere, to remove products of combustion.

Zoning: A method of partitioning a home into independently controlled zones for enhanced heating and cooling comfort and efficiency.

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For more information about heating and cooling services from A-1 American, contact us today. We have offices throughout Hampton Roads. If you live in Southside Hampton Roads, call us at 757-324-5277. Call 757-595-9900 on the Peninsula or 757-565-1900 in the Williamsburg area.