Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

8 Common HVAC Terms And What They Mean

When dealing with contractors or technicians regarding your HVAC, it is always better to know what you’re talking about so you can optimize the value of paying an expert to come work on your system. Here are 8 common HVAC terms and what they mean:


A control will be a temperature-control device likely found on a wall inside your home. It contains sensors and relays that monitor and control the functions of your heating and cooling system. Some controls are programmable and allow you to set different temperature levels to optimize your comfort during different parts of the day.

Packaged System

All components of an air conditioning and/or heating system are located in a single cabinet. This all-in-one system is installed beside or on top of your building.


A substance that manifests a cooling effect. It is commonly used and is found in most air conditioning systems.


A substance that causes an allergic reaction. Common allergens include pollen, pet hair, dust, dander, mold, mildew, tobacco smoke, lint, fungus, bacteria, and cooking grease.


The heart of an air conditioning system, it makes up a part of the outdoor unit that pumps refrigerant. The compressor keeps a steady pressure to allow the refrigerant to sufficiently flow with the correct quantities.


A device usually found on a wall inside your home that controls the temperature. It has a system of sensors and relays that monitor and control the temperature of your home.


BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is equal to the amount of heat given off by a single match. In your home, it represents how much heat is given off when fuel is burned for heating and also how much heat is lost from your home during cooling.


HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, and it refers to the efficiency of your heat pump throughout an entire heating season. The higher the number, the more efficient your unit.

For more expert tips about HVAC terms and abbreviations, please contact us at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air.