Air Conditioning Terms: Are You Cool With The Language?

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September 11, 2012

Heating and Air Conditioning Fort Wayne Indiana

Air Conditioning Terms: Are You Cool With The Language?When replacing or repairingyour air conditioner, it can be wise to familiarize yourself with the air conditioning terms and concepts used within the industry. To assist you in learning this somewhat foreign language, we've put together a list of air conditioning terms and definitions you should know.

  • Refrigerant – A liquid with an extremely low boiling point. As it boils, it absorbs the heat out of the air. Common refrigerants include the old R-22 and the more modern R-410A.
  • Evaporator coil – A coil of metal tubes, inside which the refrigerant boils and evaporates. The evaporator coil cools the indoor air. Located inside.
  • Condenser coil – A second coil that expels the heat absorbed by the refrigerant into the outdoor air, allowing the refrigerant to condense back into a liquid. Located outside.
  • Compressor – A device that compresses the refrigerant, providing the pressure required for the refrigerant to condense into a liquid even when the temperature is above its boiling point. Located outside.
  • Thermal expansion valve – The device that then reduces the refrigerant pressure as it re-enters the evaporator coil, allowing it to boil again.
  • Split system – An air conditioner that is split into two units: an indoor unit that contains the evaporator coil and thermal expansion valve, and an outdoor unit that houses the condenser coil and compressor.
  • Ductless mini split – A split system that has more than one indoor unit (but still only one outdoor unit).
  • Ton – A measurement of air conditioning power. A ton of air conditioning is equal to 12,000 British thermal units per hour.
  • Load calculation – The process of measuring how much heat a home absorbs from the outdoors. The load calculation determines how many tons of air conditioning are required.
  • Airflow – The rate at which air passes through the evaporator coil. An air conditioner needs between 350 and 450 cubic feet of airflow per minute for each ton of cooling power.
  • SEER – Seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The most common and most useful rating of an air conditioner's energy efficiency.

If you have any questions about these air conditioning terms, feel free to contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning in New Haven.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air conditioning terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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