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Talking The Talk: Air Conditioning Terms to Know

Talking The Talk: Air Conditioning Terms to Know

Posted by
Ed Miller on Mon, Aug 12, 2013

Have you ever tried to get your air conditioning fixed?  Are you confused by so many different terms, even for the same components?  Florida weather is really hard on your AC system, and regular maintenance is needed to keep them running at top efficiency.  Use this handy guide to quickly come up to speed.

Below is a list of the most popular AC acronyms and terms and their definitions.  Each of these can be important if you are trying to decide whether or not you need a repair or even simple maintenance.


BTU – British Thermal Unit. This is a measure of heating capacity of your system.  Higher is better.

CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute. This measures the blowing power of your system.  Higher is better

dB – Decibel. Used to measure the loudness of a sound.  The compressor will have a dB rating, and the lower, the better.

EPA – Environmental Protection Agency. This is the government agency that oversees and enforces environmental regulations (such as the Energy Star program).

HVAC – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.  Usually pronounced as “H-Vac”.


Air flow – How much air your system is moving or blowing.  This will be measured in terms of CFM and will increase with the size and power of your air conditioning unit.

Air handler – The enclosure that contains the blower as well as the heating or cooling components.

Compressor – The unit that is outside your house.  This is the box that generates most of the noise.

Condenser coil – Usually located outside by the compressor, this unit either collects or releases heat, depending on whether you are using the heater or the air conditioner.

Ductwork – The method by which the heated or cooled air is delivered through your house.  Ductwork is often made of sheet metal and looks like a large, square tube.

Heat exchanger – This unit is inside the furnace and works by heating the surrounding air, which can then be pushed through the ductwork around the home.

Heat pump – An HVAC unit that works by moving heat.  In the summer, it moves heat from inside the home house to the outside.  In the winter, it does the opposite.

Horizontal flow – When the air handler is located on its side and transfers air in one end and out the other.  Frequently found in attics or crawl spaces.

Humidifier – A device that adds moisture to the air after it is heated before pushing it through the ductwork and into the individual rooms.

Humidistat – A device that automatically maintains the air moisture level, which is adjustable.

Particles – Any substance measuring less than 100 microns (one micron = one millionth of a meter).  These can include dust, pollen, or other pollutants in your HVAC system.

Refrigerant – Any chemical that introduces a cooling effect.  Most air conditioners use either R-22 or R-410a refrigerant.

Split system – An HVAC unit where some components are located inside the home and others are located outside the home.  Many houses have this system, with the compressor outside and the condenser and air handler on the inside.

Static pressure – The air pressure inside your ductwork.  If it is too high, it will affect the air flow in the ducts.

Thermidistat – Measures temperature and humidity and adjusts both to the desired level.

Thermostat – Usually found on the inside of the home, this unit allows the HVAC unit to be controlled by the touch of a button

Ton – A unit of measurement that determines the capacity of your air conditioning unit.  1 ton is equal to 12,000 BTU per hour.  Therefore, a 4-ton air conditioner can remove 48,000 BTU of heat from a home in one hour.

Upflow – When the air handler is installed in an upright position and pushes air out the top of the unit.  Frequently found in basement or closet installations.

Ventilator – A unit that moves recirculated indoor air outside and replaces it with fresh outside air.

Zoning – A way of separating the home into smaller sections that are independently controlled for heating and air conditioning.

Now that you can speak the HVAC language, isn’t it time to get yours serviced?  In the Jacksonville area, there is only one place to call:  Snyder Heating and Air Conditioning.  In business since 1973, they have the experience and professionalism that you can expect from a top-notch service.  They really know how to deal with AC systems in Florida weather!  If you need repairs, a simple check-up, or a complete system install, they can do it all.  Snyder Heating and Air is the place to go for the best quality work at the right price in Jacksonville!



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Snyder Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electric serves families across Florida. You'll find our technicians are just a short phone call away in neighborhoods throughout these counties:


  • Alachua
  • Baker
  • Clay
  • Duval
  • Flagler
  • Nassau
  • St. Johns


  • Broward
  • Martin
  • Miami-Dade
  • Palm Beach
  • St. Lucie

Customer Reviews

This was an exceptional experience! We woke up to our A/C on but not cooling (it was 6am and already 81 in the house). The person who set up our appointment was very nice, able to get us seen same-day, and let us know of some options to help save us money.

-Christy Cormier

The service from Sam and Chris was excellent! They were very knowledgeable and professional. They were able to answer all of my questions and completed all of my electrical issues. I will definitely use them again for future jobs. Thank you!

-Adrienne Beal

From the get go I could tell that the Snyder employees were truly professionals and didn’t push to make sales like other companies I’ve talked to my whole life. They took the time to explain so that I could make a decision. The installers and later the duct cleaners were very respectful during their work here. Thank you.

-Mike Daniels

Snyder Heating and AC is dependable, always on time and techs have always been courteous and knowledgeable. Emanuel was a great addition to the company. He was friendly and knew what he was doing. Thank you for great service.

-Linda Ackley

Snyder came in and did a total overhaul of our duct system. They had a great knowledge of what to do to make our home so comfortable! The technicians were all so professional and took great care of us! We’re so thankful for their expertise. Great and easy communication with the call center. We will definitely use them again!

-Crystal Hill

Snyder provided an amazing experience from start to finish. Most of us dread getting estimates with pressuring salespeople. Erik was a great guy, explained all my options and didn’t try to pressure me to act quickly! Justin followed up with my husband and I to offer further assistance in our decision. Again, no pressure, just helped with our follow up questions.

-Michele Bauer

Very prompt, professional, courteous, and cleaned up after repair. Had water line break in my front yard and no pressure. Very pleased and would highly recommend Snyder for all your plumbing, and AC needs. Thank you for making a rough morning get better with ease and professionalism.

-Chuck Jr.

Snyder was easy to get in contact with and had availability the next day. Clint came out and needed some parts so had to reschedule us for the next day for installation. He did a great job converting our old 3 knob shower to one. Looks great! Professional and courteous. 100% recommend this company, especially Clint.

-Nicole Hansen

Very thorough and professional Job

-John Ridenour

Excellent work. Hard worker. Highly recommend.

-Andre A

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