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Air Conditioning Terminology 101

Posted on News September 29, 2010 by Terry Jones

The following are some common air conditioning terms that will make life easier when considering replacing an old a/c.

SEER: Stands for ‘seasonal energy efficiency ratio’. This is the cooling output (measured in Btu) over the course of a cooling season divided by the electrical energy input (in watt-hours) over the course of the same cooling season. In layman’s terms, it is a measure of energy efficiency of the unit on a seasonal basis. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.

EER: Stands for ‘energy efficiency ratio’. This measures the energy efficiency of the air conditioner when the outdoor temperature is at a specific temperature (95 degrees). EER is a measure of the energy efficiency of the unit at peak outdoor temperature conditions. Again, the higher the EER, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.

Heat Pump: An outdoor unit of a split system. This provides heating and cooling. 

Furnace: An indoor unit of a split system. Works with an air conditioner or heat pump to provide heating.

Air Handler: Indoor part of a split system. Moves air throughout the home to provide heating or cooling.

Split System: A split system air conditioner refers to those systems with two units: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit may be an air handler or furnace. The outdoor unit may be the air conditioner or heat pump. The outdoor unit contains the compressor and condenser coil.

Packaged System: An air conditioner in which all components of the system are contained in one outdoor unit.

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