The key to buying the right high-efficiency A/C system is to understand what you need. Here are some commonly used words relating to cooling and heating that will help you when discussing your options with our technician.
An air conditioning system that includes a cooling cycle only. It may include
electric strip heating.
Cooling and heating system that absorbs heat from the outside air and transfers it inside to provide a
– cooling cycle during the summer and
– heating cycle during the winter.
Heating is provided at about half the cost of electric strip heating.
Strip Heating (or resistance heating)
A form of electric heating which may be used in climates where heat is used infrequently. Air is
-blown over electrically heated metal coils and
-circulated into the living space.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER)
A measure of annual average cooling efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump. FPL recommends a minimum SEER of 14.0
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
A measure of average annual heating efficiency of a heat pump. Comfactor A/C recommends a minimum HSPF of 6.8.
A properly sized air conditioner will cool and dehumidify your home. A system that is too large will not dehumidify the air and a system that is too small will not keep your house cool on the hottest days. Ask your contractor if you may benefit from a heat load calculation. But contractors don’t recommend an A/C size based solely on the size of your home. They also take into account
• local temperature
• windows that let in heat from the sun
• level of ceiling insulation and
• the number and lifestyle of your home’s occupants.
(BTU) British Thermal Unit
A measure of the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of a pound (one pint) of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. Used to describe how much cooling or heating a home needs.
A measure of the size or cooling capacity of an air conditioner. One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs per hour and is the amount of cooling released from melting 1 ton of ice per day.
R-22 is the common name for hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 has been used as a refrigerant by HVAC manufacturers for over 40 years, but studies in the past decade have shown that HCFCs contain chlorine, an ozone-depleting agent. For this reason, the United States Clean Air Act has set a target date for January 1, 2010, on which HVAC manufacturers must cease the production of products that use R-22.
R-410A is the common name for an emerging hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) that is being used as a refrigerant in the HVAC industry. R-410A is more environmentally friendly than R-22 and is being seen as the most likely replacement for R-22 by HVAC manufacturers. At the beginning of 2010, the use of alternate refrigerant will be required in HVAC manufacturing.