When you’re in the market for a new cooling system, knowing the important A/C terms may help you choose the best system for your home. Central air conditioners and heat pumps are complex appliances and the industry uses terms unique to that industry to describe them.
- SEER. Short for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, the SEER describes how efficiently the system uses electricity to remove the heat from a home. The U.S. Department of Energy has established a minimum of 13 SEER and cooling systems with a higher SEER use less electricity for the same amount of cooling. High efficiency systems have SEER ratings that go into the 20s.
- Tons. Central systems are sized by their capacity in Btuhs (British thermal units per hour). Each ton can move 12,000 Btus per hour. The contractor with whom you work needs to do a thorough analysis of your home to determine the best size using software called Manual J. As you go forward with a contractor, understanding the A/C terms that refer to sizing the system is critical for your comfort, energy bills and the system’s durability.
- Air handler or blower. This term refers to the indoor portion of a central cooling system that contains the fan that pulls air across the cooling coil, also called the evaporator coil. The coil carries the refrigerant that removes the heat in your home’s air.
- Outdoor condenser. The condenser contains the condensing coil that receives the warmed refrigerant from your home. It has a large fan that pulls air through the condensing coil to help cool it.
- Compressor. The compressor inside the condenser changes the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid, which puts the refrigerant under pressure. A system that has a scroll compressor will cool more efficiently than one equipped with a piston compressor and will have a higher SEER rating.
If you’d like more clarification about these A/C terms and others that might affect your decision, contact the pros at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. We provide exceptional HVAC services for homeowners in Monmouth County and the surrounding areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about A/C terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.