Basic AC Terms for Homeowners

Know your AC terms to avoid confusion with air conditioners. Some terms pop up more than others, so it’s important to stay on top of definitions. Hans Heating & Air understands the confusion that comes along with HVAC terminology. 

We have all the basic terms you need to navigate air conditioners like a pro. This way, the next time you need to describe a problem to an HVAC technician or receive a diagnosis, it will be easier and make more sense. At Hans, we want our customers to feel comfortable and confident with their HVAC systems. Let’s get started!

List of Basic AC Terms

In Montgomery, Alabama, air conditioning must function properly. Temperatures get too high to go without. Part of air conditioner maintenance comes from the homeowner’s knowledge of their system. therefore, we’ve gathered the most common AC terms and defined them for your benefit.


Air has to travel through something to cool the entire home. It does that with ducts. Air travels in the ducts, then exits through vents. 


AC terms sometimes seem vague. Efficiency tends to fall in that category. However, the definition is simpler than you think. It refers to the energy consumption of a particular air conditioning system. 

A unit with high efficiency uses a low amount of energy, while low-efficiency systems use a lot of energy to cool the same amount of space. The higher the efficiency, the less it costs to run. The lower the efficiency, the more it costs to heat and cool your house.


Here’s one you probably know—filters! A filter does exactly as the name implies. They make sure no dirt, dust, or other particles float around your home. Clean air depends on filters. Check them monthly and change as needed. Don’t wait for seasonal tune ups. 


Another common term you definitely know—thermostat. This controls the temperature throughout your home. Updated thermostats use sensors to determine how much it needs to cool. Older models require manual adjustments. 

Either way, keep it clean and out of direct sunlight for the best results. If you’d like to upgrade to a programmable, Wi-Fi-connected or “smart” thermostat, we’re happy to help. 

We’ll recommend a selection based on your current HVAC system, install it and make sure you’re comfortable with the features before we leave. That way, you’ll get the most value from it. 

Drain Pan

Air conditioners often create condensation. A drain pan collects the water to eliminate potential damage. Some build up occurs if not cleaned properly, but a quick vinegar or bleach bath prevent algae and bacteria growth. Sometimes the drain line clogs. Keep an eye out for water on the floor around your indoor AC unit and notify Hans if you suspect a leak. 


Air conditioners use refrigerant to remove heat and humidity from your space. An air conditioner producing hot air needs new refrigerant. However, do not handle refrigerant yourself. Only trained professionals should replace refrigerant because of its toxicity


AC terms are often related to one another. A compressor, for example, pressurizes and heats refrigerant. The AC compressor is housed in the large unit outside your house, whether you have an air conditioner or heat pump. 

Evaporator Coil

Before pressurization in the compressor, refrigerant absorbs heat via the evaporator coil. In this coil, refrigerant turns into a low-pressure, warm gas.

Condenser Coil

Finally, refrigerant passes through the condenser coil. Here the heat transfers to air that blows over the coil and the refrigerant turns back into a liquid. Hot air then filters outside while cool air blows inside.


Of all the AC terms on this list, the blower is arguably the most important. Essentially, blowers actually circulate the air into your home. If a blower doesn’t work, air won’t come out of the air conditioner. 

Contact Us When You Need HVAC Pros in Montgomery, AL

AC terms don’t have to hold you back. With this list, all the knowledge you need is at your fingertips. In Montgomery, Alabama, air conditioners allow homeowners to live comfortably. In fact, they are a necessity. 

Luckily, Hans Heating & Air understands the importance of a functional air conditioner. If you experience problems with your air conditioning, give us a call. We offer 24-hour repair service and a same day service guarantee. Call today! 

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