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9 Basic HVAC Definitions Homeowners Should Know

HVAC definitions

Understanding some of the most basic terminology surrounding your air conditioning system will help you make better decisions as a homeowner charged with its care. In order to take good care of your HVAC system, or purchase a new one, you should know what terms like SEER, compressor, and condenser coil mean.

Air exchange rate

This is the rate at which outdoor air replaces the air that currently exists within a structure. Air exchange rate is measured in two ways, air changes per hour and cubic feet per minute.


This acronym stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a rating of how much energy is used by the system to keep the temperature under control. The lowest SEER rating is 13: the higher the rating, the more efficient the system.


The compressor is designed to distribute the refrigerant, under pressure, through the HVAC system.

Condenser coil

The condenser coil is located within an air conditioner or heat pump. As the fan blows in air from the outside, refrigerant circulates through the condenser coil.

Energy Star

Systems with this rating meet or exceed the guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for energy efficiency.

HEPA Filter

An acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance, and is a type of filter, especially designed to remove a high degree of particulates from indoor air.

MERV Rating

MERV ratings are used in referring to the size of filter holes. Higher MERV numbers are filters that have smaller holes and allow only the smallest particulates to flow through.


A ton is a unit of measurement for concluding how much energy is needed to cool down the air flowing through your system. One ton of air is equivalent to 12,000 BTUs.

Heat Pump

Heat pump describes a unit that cools/heats by moving heat. In winter months, it pulls heat from outdoors and distributes it through the space. During summer’s heat, it switches the process and pulls heat from inside the space and discharges it outside.

For any questions on your home or business HVAC system, please call our team of HVAC professionals. In Port St. Lucie, call (772) 398-0023 and call (772) 220-1496 in Martin County.


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