HVAC Terms Every Edmonton Homeowner Should Know

General Plumbing 4606 Views

What many contractors fail to realize when talking to a homeowner is that their years of expertise can often get lost in translation when trying to explain a process to what we know as 'the layman.' Many HVAC technicians are guilty of this because they've been working with the fundamentals of heating and air their whole lives, yet some consumers might not know an air handler from a variable speed motor. Here are some of the main terms of HVAC that every Edmonton homeowner should know to keep up to speed with their contractor.

Air Cleaner

An air cleaner is a standalone unit that captures dust and particles from your home atmosphere and deactivates them.

Air Filtration

Air filtration is the process of running air from the central unit out into the home via duct work but running the air through a filter first to prevent dust and debris from entering into the living environment.

Air Handler

The air handler is the device that conditions the air then circulates it in both heating and air conditioning systems.


British Thermal Units are units of energy used in HVAC systems. Specifically it is the amount of energy needed to cool or heat a pound of water by exactly one degree Fahrenheit.


Cubic Feet per Minute is the air flow measurement used in HVAC; a measurement of how many cubic feet of air pass by a point over the course of a minute.


Chillers are used to cool the air that is transferred through air conditioning units. Cold water is transferred to coils where it cools and dehumidifies the air before sending it through the duct work.


The compressor receives a cool low pressure gas and squeezes the molecules together which makes the temperature and energy increase.


There are generally two coils in an HVAC unit and they are what increase or decrease the temperature of the coolant gas that transfers through the system.


The condenser takes a substance from its gas to liquid state, and cools it down to prevent overheating and easing use.


Refrigerant is what passes through the closed HVAC system and the cycle consists of the expansion valve to the evaporator to the compressor then the condenser and repeat.


Dampers open and close to cut off or regulate the flow of air into a room.


The evaporator (coil) distributes cold air through the ducts in an air conditioning unit.

Heat Pump

A heat pump is a small device that moves heat from one location to another, either from the outside to the inside to warm a house or taking heat from the inside to the outside to cool a home.


Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.


The load is how much heating and cooling a home needs registered in BTU / hour.

Modulating Heating

Modulating heating is an energy efficient furnace that helps control the fluctuations of heat in an attempt to keep a more consistent temperature.


Refrigerant is the material that runs through the hoses in an air conditioning unit.


Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is an energy rating on appliances and in homes.

Two Stage Variable Speed Motor

An energy efficient furnace with two fans, one that operates quietly, slowly, and efficiently and another that ramps up to account for temperature fluctuations.