Even You Can Learn the Common Industry HVAC Acronyms

HVAC acronyms often fill the air when you’re shopping for a new system or having an existing unit serviced. Abbreviations are part of any industry and help communicate information about technology and hardware that might otherwise have lengthy, tongue-twisting names. For example, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. That’s the business we’re in. It means keeping your home environment comfortable, healthy, and efficient in all seasons.

Now, here are five other HVAC acronyms you may or may not have heard before, as well as an explanation of what each acronym stands for.

ACH refers to air changes per hour. It’s a common ventilation benchmark which expresses the number of times the air volume inside a specific interior space is removed and replaced by fresh air.

AFUE is the acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s used to rate the heating performance of gas furnaces. A standard-efficiency gas furnace typically has an AFUE rating of 80%. That means that 80% of the fuel consumed is converted directly to heat, while 20% is lost in the heating process. High-efficiency furnaces have AFUE ratings of 90% or greater and generally provide lower-cost heating, though at a higher up-front purchase price.

BTU means British Thermal Units. It’s the standard measure for units of heat energy. A furnace specification will typically include the amount of BTUs the unit produces per hour, while air conditioner specs use the BTU standard to express the amount of heat energy extracted from indoor air.

HEPA refers to high-efficiency particulate air. It’s most often used to describe very efficient air filters that remove 99% of particulates in household air, including most viruses, bacteria, and airborne allergens.

SEER rating represents Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s a number that expresses air conditioner energy efficiency. The minimum required SEER rating is currently 13. The higher the SEER rating — nowadays a few units are as high as 26 — the more efficient the unit and the less it costs to cool your home.

Puzzled by HVAC acronyms? The pros at Paitson Bros. — serving Terre Haute since 1922 — will be happy to put it in plain, understandable language for you.

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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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