Learn the Important HVAC Cooling Season Terms

Learn the Important HVAC Cooling Season Terms | Paitson Bros.Summer means adding HVAC terms to the vocabulary of indoor comfort. Your cooling and heating systems share certain common parts, but they are separate units with their own distinctly different nomenclature to describe components and performance. While you may not be sprinkling HVAC terms into casual conversation with friends and family, a basic familiarity with the jargon comes in handy if issues arise that involve cooling system maintenance or repair.

Air Handler

It’s the indoor half of a central A/C system and comprises the system blower as well as the critical evaporator coil — the component that extracts heat from indoor air to keep the house cool on hot days this summer.


Located in the outside part of the central air conditioner, the compressor pressurizes refrigerant flowing from the evaporator coil to compress the molecules of heat energy. The compressor is usually the most expensive single component in the system.

Condensate Drain

Central A/C units extract many gallons of of water vapor from indoor air daily. The condensate is collected in the air handler drip pan, then flows into the condensate drain line connected to your household sewer system. A clogged condensate drain system can result in overflows and water damage.


This chemical circulates continuously through insulated lines between the indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil. Heat extracted indoors by the evaporator coil is absorbed by refrigerant and carried to the condenser coil where it’s dispersed into outdoor air. Proper refrigerant level is critical to optimum A/C performance and efficiency.


Short for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, it’s the primary metric for rating an air conditioner’s energy efficiency. SEER expresses the amount of BTUs of heat extracted from indoor air in relation to the amount of electricity consumed to do so. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the A/C and the lower your operating costs. Currently, standard efficiency air conditioning units have a federal minimum SEER rating of 14, while high-efficiency units offer SEER ratings above 20.

Serving the Wabash Valley since 1922, at Paitson Bros., we’re always happy to explain HVAC terms in plain English.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC cooling season terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock”

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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