HVAC 101: Cooling Season Terms to Know

June 14, 2016

As the hot Des Moines summer approaches, your air conditioning system will need a little more love and attention. For many homeowners, that means diving into the world of unfamiliar HVAC terms. If you want to better understand your cooling system through the hot months, here are the terms you should keep in mind:
  • Evaporator - You know a bit of physics just from climbing out of a swimming pool: evaporating moisture makes you cooler. The evaporator coil in your home's air conditioner cools the air by evaporating refrigerant.
  • Condenser - The outdoor component of your A/C, the condenser releases the heat taken up by the refrigerant so that the refrigerant can return to you home for further cooling.
  • Cooling capacity - This is a measure of your air conditioner's power. It tells you how much heat your A/C can remove from a room over the course of an hour.
  • Heat gain - A term referring to the way your home is warmed, both by direct sunlight (coming through windows and heating your roof, for example) and by warmth carried in through air leaks by air currents.
  • Ventilation - The controlled movement of air into and out of your home, exhausting stale air and bringing in fresh air. Ventilation can also waste your cooling dollars by expelling cool air and bringing in warm air, unless you invest in a system such as an energy recovery ventilator.
  • Heat pump - Heat pumps are combined heating/cooling systems, which achieve high efficiency because they move heat energy from place to place instead of creating it. Air conditioners operate on the same principle as heat pumps - but traditional air conditioners only remove heat from your home, and never introduce it.
  • Forced air system - In this type of system, air is centrally heated or cooled, and then pushed (or forced) through ducts by a central fan. This allows the temperature of all the rooms in your home to be managed at once.
If there are HVAC terms you're curious about, don't hesitate to give us a call at Lozier Heating & Cooling! Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Dimedrol68/Shutterstock"