We help people understand and become more knowledgable about the hvac world.
First things first. What does HVAC mean?
While the Energy Center usually tries to avoid the use of acronyms, HVAC is in common use in the
heating and coolingindustry. It stands for "heating, ventilation and air conditioning," three functions often combined into one system in today's modern homes and buildings. Warmed or cooled or dehumidified air flows through a series of tubes - called ducts - to be distributed to all the rooms of your house. A central HVAC system is the most quiet and convenient way to cool an entire home.
Unless you live in an amazingly temperate climate, the HVAC system in your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 44 percent of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling.
Like many other appliances, HVAC systems have improved in energy efficiency in the last decade. As a result, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your HVAC equipment.
Another development of the 1990s is the whole house approach to heating and cooling. Coupled with an energy efficient furnace, heat pump or air-conditioner, the whole house approach can have a great impact on your energy bills. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings - properly regulated with a programmable thermostat, of course - you may be able to cut your energy bills in half.
All major appliances including gas furnaces, boilers, air conditioners and heat pumps sold in California meet the Title-24 energy efficiency standards. If you are thinking about purchasing a new central furnace, check the ENERGY STAR® database, which uses information supplied by the California Energy Commission. It displays information on most energy efficient appliances in a consumer-friendly, easy-to-use fashion.
Home heating and cooling systems are much easier to operate than ever before. They work better and need fewer repairs. The innovations that bring more comfort and convenience make system operations more complicated. For the average consumer, HVAC systems can be a challenge to understand. When replacing an old HVAC system, or shopping for a new one, it makes sense to inform yourself about industry jargon.
Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency: Commonly referred to as AFUE, it is a measure of heating efficiency. More efficient furnaces have a higher AFUE.
Air Handler: It is usually a furnace or blower coil and is responsible for moving heated or cooled air through ductwork.
British Thermal Unit: A BTU is a unit of energy. Look for high BTUs on HVAC systems that have a greater heating capacity.
Central Air Conditioner: Air is handled and distributed from a central location to rooms throughout a home or building.
Compressor: This device is located on your outdoor air-conditioning unit. Its function is to compress and pump cooling refrigerant.
Ductwork: Air is distributed from the furnace or blower coil via ductwork throughout your home.
ENERGY STAR: A trademarked label for HVAC products that meet strict guidelines by the Environmental Protection Agency for efficiency and performance.
Heat Exchanger: It transfers heat to air that is distributed throughout the home.
Humidifier: This device sends moisture into heated air as it leaves the furnace.
Humidistat: Maintains humidity levels at adjusted levels.
MERV Rating: A rating for air filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Filters with smaller holes have higher MERV values and better efficiency.