The HVAC industry loves abbreviations and acronyms. The field covers various tools, ratings, and processes and borrows terms across the sciences. At home, you're sure to run into a few common HVAC acronyms during maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.
This cheat sheet covers some of the most common HVAC abbreviations with helpful context. Let's dive in!
HVAC Abbreviations in Context
What does HVAC stand for?
When your industry name is an acronym, you're setting the tone. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and refers to residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC maintenance and repair. HVAC includes heating, cooling, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and many electrical componentry.
What Does BTU Stand For?
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. While the metric remains the same, the definition of BTU in HVAC describes the amount of energy required to heat or cool your home. BTUs are important for determining the appropriate-sized heating system or air conditioning unit for your home.
What is a MERV Rating?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings reflect the ability of an air filter to capture airborne particles. The rating scale starts at 1, or the largest average particle size, to 16, which captures up to 95% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. Your AirNow technicians can make recommendations for the right MERV rating for your home based on the size of your HVAC system, the number of occupants in the home, and other variables like pets or smoking habits.
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What Does HEPA Mean?
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter. This is the highest possible rating and technically meets standards above and beyond the MERV rating scale. HEPA filters remove more than 99.97% of airborne dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria. These particles are microscopic and are 0.3 microns or less in diameter.
All MERV-rated filter and HEPA filters must be replaced regularly to efficiently remove particles of the size they are rated for. Always follow manufacturer recommendations and replace filters on time.
What Does SEER Mean?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a calculation of the rate of air cooling over a normal cooling system divided by the energy used as measured in watts. A good SEER rating is usually 14 or higher. The top SEER-rated air conditioners achieve an output ratio of 23. Most AC units on the market today average a SEER rating of 16.
SEER vs. EER: What's the Difference?
EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and is calculated similarly to SEER. There is a difference, however. EER refers to central air HVAC systems, including residential heat pumps. SEER specifically refers to window air conditioning units only.