These are the HVAC Heating Season Terms You Should Know

These are the HVAC Heating Season Terms You Should KnowThe heating season has a language all its own when it comes to your HVAC system. The seasonal switch from the air conditioner to the furnace replaces the vocabulary of cooling with terminology relating to keeping your house warm through another cold Indiana winter. If you’re replacing your furnace, or require professional service during the heating season, here are some of the technical terms you’re likely to hear, and what they mean.


It stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Expressed as a percentage, AFUE represents the amount of generated heat that actually contributes to warming your house, versus the amount lost in the combustion process (usually in the form of hot gases going up the vent.) Today’s minimum AFUE is 80%, but high-efficiency furnaces that recover more of that lost heat are available with AFUE above 90%.


Short for British Thermal Unit, every furnace comes with a BTU specification that indicates its “capacity”; i.e., how much heat the burner generates. An HVAC contractor performs a heating load calculation to determine how many BTUs are required to keep your house comfortable in the coldest conditions, then matches that figure to a furnace with the appropriate BTU specs.


Adequate insulation inhibits winter heat loss. The effectiveness of insulation is expressed by R-factor. “R” stands for heat resistance per inch of insulating material. The higher the R-factor numeral, the better the insulation resists heat loss. In our geographic temperature zone, the Department of Energy recommends insulating the attic to a total depth of R45 up to R60 for optimum efficiency and comfort.

Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is the critical component that transfers heat from the burner to air moving through ductwork. Heating performance and efficiency depends on effective heat transfer, but the heat exchanger is also critical because it prevents dangerous combustion gases — including deadly carbon monoxide — from entering the household airflow. A defective heat exchanger always presents a clear safety hazard and usually requires furnace replacement.

Keeping Wabash Valley homes warm in every winter since 1922, Paitson Bros. is ready with professional sales and service all heating season long.

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 heating season terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “stockcreations/Shutterstock”

This entry was posted in Heating and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

What is 0 + 0 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
  • Click Here, For
  • » Call Us: 1 (812) 232-2347

  • How Can We Help?

    We're glad to answer questions... just click below for our contact form:

    Free Estimate

    Schedule Service

  • Recent Posts

  • Topics

  • Life's Journey &quo...
    By Jeff Paitson
  • About Jeff

    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.

    Jeff’s belief is that the business belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore 10 percent of the company’s profits go toward the Maryland Community Church.

    Jeff is a Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce member and in his spare time, he enjoys photography.
    More »
  • About Ethan

    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

    An Eagle Scout, Ethan spent four years as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining Paitson Bros. as a comfort advisor and later General Manager. In that role, Ethan has brought a renewed enthusiasm for customer care, integrity, value, and service to Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

    Ethan enjoys singing and was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer, spending time with his family and two young boys, and volunteering his time and resources with his church, Terre Haute First Baptist Church, which he has attended from a very young age.
    More »