Written on: May 31, 2023
Every industry as well as different groups of people employ their own form of jargon, a shorthanded way of communicating. Just consider the whole gaggle of abbreviations that have sprung up with text messaging, from IDK and BTW to LOL, LMK and IMHO.
Naturally, the home comfort industry has its own specialized vocabulary and plenty of abbreviations too. To help you better understand some of the shorthand used in this business, here are a few terms that you may often hear when interacting with a home energy professional.
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It refers to the systems that regulate and move heated and cooled air throughout buildings and other structures, from homes to offices and even submarines. Although there are many options when it comes to HVAC systems, they all work similarly, taking in fresh air and using a mechanical ventilation system to heat or cool a structure to a desired temperature.
HVAC units also can control humidity levels and improve air quality through air cleaners that capture bacteria, spores, and virus-sized particles. The HVAC technician who comes to your home for a pre-installation evaluation will help you determine which system and options are best to keep your hone comfortable and healthy.
AFUE measures how efficiently a heating system converts fuel into heating energy. A system with an 85% AFUE will convert 85 cents of every heating dollar into warming your home. Compare that to an old, less efficient system with a 65% AFUE, where 65 cents of every dollar heats your home; the rest is expelled out the chimney or flue.
This is the cooling counterpart of AFUE. Each SEER represents the number of Btus of cooling per watt of electricity used. The more cooling you can get out of a watt of electricity, the less you’ll spend. So, the higher the SEER, the more efficient a cooling system will be.
Beginning in 2023, all new residential air conditioning systems sold in the United States must meet increased minimum energy efficiency standards. The new standards, which differ slightly depending on the region of the country, raise the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) to 14 SEER in the northern region, including Maine.
If your current cooling equipment is below these new efficiency standards, you are not required to replace it now. But it might be a good time to reassess your system’s efficiency and see how much you can save by boosting your home’s energy efficiency.
A really old, worn-out A/C system might be rated at 10-SEER. Upgrading to a higher-rated SEER system will lower your energy and repair expenses. Your home will be more comfortable too.
This is an acronym for British Thermal Unit. It can be used to describe the energy content of different heating fuels (propane, heating oil, natural gas and electricity). If you want to learn more about this, the U.S. Energy Information Administration explains how you can compare different heating fuels based on their BTU content.
Please note, however, that BTU is also used to describe the power of heating and cooling systems and their ability to maintain comfortable temperatures in a specific amount of space. It’s similar to helping determine how much horsepower you want in your car so it always performs to your satisfaction.