Basic HVAC Terms for Alabama Homeowners

Unless you’ve had an HVAC problem before, your knowledge of HVAC basic vocabulary is probably a bit limited. You may have walked away from your heating and cooling tech scratching your head once or twice.

What are common terms for professionals can feel like a foreign language to others. Hans Heating and Air wants to offer you some of the basic HVAC terms to help you better understand your system.

As part of our commitment to customer service, we love to inform customers. If you feel more comfortable with your basic HVAC system components, it’s easier to ask questions. It’s also simpler when it comes time to repair or replace your air conditioner, for example. Let’s get started!

Basic HVAC Vocabulary

Air Conditioner

Conditions air to change the temperature, humidity levels or quality.

Air Handler

Indoor part of the air conditioning system including the circulating fan, evaporator and condenser coil.


Facilitates the combustion of air and gas.

CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute

Measurement of airflow volume.

Charging a System

Adding coolant or refrigerant to an HVAC system.


An external pump that increases the pressure of refrigerant gas.

DC or Direct Current

A type of electrical current that flows in only one direction.


Found in the junction points of your ductwork, these metal plates open or close to control the flow of air in the room.


The grille over each air supply duct that distributes the discharging air in a specific pattern or direction.


The Department of Energy.

Drain Pan

As refrigerant vapor is liquefied, the drain pan collects the condensate, or moisture and funnels it to the drain line.


A network of metal, fiberboard or flexible material connected through a space. The “tunnels” that deliver air from the HVAC unit to the respective zones of an office or home.


A cooling system may use multiple filters. The air filter is crucial to the system intake ducting and prevents contaminants from entering the equipment. Check and replace filters at regular intervals. We recommend homeowners check air filters monthly as basic HVAC maintenance. Change as needed, usually every two to three months.


A cooling agent used in most air conditioning systems.


A vent that removes the byproducts of combustion from a furnace.

PSI or Pound per square inch

A unit of pressure resulting in the force of one pound-force being applied to the area of a square inch.


The fluid used in refrigerators, heat pumps and air conditioners to transfer heat into or out of interior space.

Refrigerant Charge

The amount of refrigerant in a system.


A device that reacts to any changes in conditions.


A motor that runs at top speed until it reaches your preferred temperature then shuts off. Commonly found in basic HVAC equipment, such as baseline or standard models. They generally consume more energy and are louder at start-up than alternative motor types and cause more stress on mechanical parts.


A motor which has multiple speeds to choose. These are typically found in “better” and “best” models. They are more energy efficient, quieter at start-up and create a more comfortable environment.

Come to Hans Heating and Air for Advanced and Basic HVAC Needs

At Hans Heating and Air we operate on honesty and integrity and offer you service 24/7/365 with quality, thoroughness and dedication. Our technicians are here rain or shine with the professional knowledge of all the basic HVAC terms listed above and more.

Contact Hans Heating and Air online or call 334-721-8437 today for all of your HVAC needs. Summer is fast approaching so we work diligently to solve your needs as they arise.

You’ll find us in the greater Montgomery, Alabama area including Wetumpka, Prattville, Pike Road, Millbrook and Hope Hull.

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