January 19, 2017

Before hiring an HVAC company to perform vital work in your home, it’s important to have some understanding of the terms your visiting engineer is likely to use. You don’t have to be an expert, but a little knowledge will help you both explain your problems and needs, and to recognize the suitability or otherwise of the solution being recommended.

Some Common HVAC Terms–and What They Mean

The start of learning more about your system begins with the following most common terms:

1. Central Air Conditioning

Designed to cool an entire house, these type of systems feature a large outdoor compressor which feeds air over an indoor refrigerating coil. The cooled air is then fed around the house by concealed ducts.

Central Air-Conditioning systems are rated according to a metric known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER).

Related: What Is a SEER, and How Can It Affect Your Wallet?


It’s somewhat technical, but SEER is a broad measure of how effective a system is in reducing the temperature of a house, calculated using British Thermal Units (BTU) and expressed as a simple number, the higher the better.

A BTU is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit, but it can be also be applied as a measure of cooling efficiency.

Older systems commonly operated at only 6 or 7 SEER, but standards have risen dramatically. Requirements vary according to the region of the nation, but since 2015, the suppliers in South and South-West States have been mandated by the US Department of Energy to install only systems providing at least 14 SEER.

Related: 7 Things About SEER You Didn’t Know


Energy Star is a voluntary certification and labeling program introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992 with the aim of assisting individuals and businesses to ensure and improve their energy efficiency.

Look for the distinctive blue Energy Star label on your home’s cooling and heating system for an assurance of quality and efficiency.

Related: How Much Money and Energy Are You Saving With Your HVAC Unit?

4. Indoor Air Quality

High standards of indoor air quality are vital to maintaining good health. But indoor air commonly carries a variety of pollutants including dust, pet hair, mold and the use of household cleaners and other aerosols. Long-term health issues caused may include asthma and other respiratory problems, allergy symptoms and, in the most serious cases, even cardiac problems and cancer.

Related: Signs You May Have Poor Indoor Air Quality

Maintaining an appropriate level of humidity in the air is also important for health. The correct installation and maintenance of heating, cooling and particularly ventilation systems is just one part, but a crucial part, of maintaining indoor air quality.

5. Heat Pump

The term heat pump might naturally imply a device for generating heat, but in fact, it is used to describe a variety of devices, including air conditioning units. Used to produce heat, a heat pump is operating on a very similar cycle to a cooling unit, but in reverse, ducting heated air through the relevant space.


HVAC is the acronym commonly used to denote a wide variety of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems.

A qualified and competent HVAC engineer will be able to advise on all types of heating and cooling arrangements, including oil-fueled, gas and electric furnaces, and the most effective types of air conditioning depending on the particular characteristics of a home or other building.

Related: 4 Reasons Why HVAC Maintenance Is Important in Las Vegas

7. Split System

A split-system air conditioner typically consists of an outdoor unit connected to an indoor one, which is often housed in an attic or closet. The indoor unit will normally also include the furnace part of the heat pump. Split systems are to be distinguished from so-called package systems, in which all elements of the system are contained in a single unit, often installed on the roof of a property.

Split-systems are generally more expensive to install, but are also more SEER efficient, thereby reducing long-term energy costs.

8. Programmable Thermostat

Modern heating and cooling systems should come with an easily programmable thermostat that will maintain your home at the temperature you desire, switching automatically between heating and cooling as required, and also able to vary the temperature according to the time of day or night.

Contact Us

The Cooling Company of Las Vegas is a family-run and community-oriented company committed to the highest standards of HVAC installation and maintenance. Contact us today at (702) 567-0707 for expert advice on your requirements and check out our HVAC FAQs for more handy information.

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