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Ideal Air Glossary of Terms

AHAM - Acronym for Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.  AHAM produces the official rating for dehumidifiers.

BTU - British Thermal Unit.  A single BTU is the amount of energy required to cool or heat a pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

Condenser - The unit used to condense a substance from a gaseous state to liquid by cooling it.  Condensers are generally recognized as heat exchangers.  In the case of air conditioners they extract the inside heat from the interior of the air conditioner to the outside air.  Often referred to as "the outdoor unit".

Digital Inverter Compressor - A digitally controlled compressor that converts AC voltage to DC voltage to control compressor speed.  The inverter allows precise throttle control of the conditioning unit based on the load or need.  Inverter units are quieter, more efficient and last longer.

Ductless Mini-Split - An air conditioner or heat pump that requires no duct work to function.  The unit hangs on the wall or ceiling and cools or heats the surrounding area.

Evaporator - The indoor portion of the heat pump or air conditioner.  In a mini-split system this hangs on the wall or ceiling and provides the heating or cooling of the space.

H/P - Heat pump. A unit that can operate as both an air conditioner or a heater.  When it's cold outside a heat pump extracts the outside heat and transfers it inside.  When it's warm outside, it reverses directions and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat.  A heat pump moves heat instead of generating it, giving you more energy efficiency.

HSPF - Heating Seasonal Performance Factor.  The greater the number/rating the more efficient the heating.  A 10 HSPF, for example is a very good rating.

Line Set - Insulated copper tubing used to connect the evaporator and condenser. The refrigerant travels back and forth through the line set between the evaporator and condenser to create either cooling or heating.

R410 - A type of refrigerant. Unlike alkyl halide refrigerants, R-410A (which contains only fluorine) does not contribute to ozone depletion.  Because of that attribute it's preferred and used more broadly instead of R-22 which are phased out.  R-410 refrigerants allow for higher SEER ratings therein reducing power consumption and improving unit efficiency.

SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.  The greater the SEER rating, the more efficient the cooling system.  The minimum SEER rating allowed by the Federal Government is 14.

Ton - The size of air conditioning unit (heating or cooling) is common referred to in "tons".  A one ton unit, for example, is 12,000 BTU's.  A two ton, 24,000 BTU's, etc.  This was arrived at using a standard of how long it would take to melt ice.  A one ton unit takes 12,000 BTU's one hour to melt a ton of ice.

VFD - Variable Frequency Drive. The VFD is a an electrical device that's used to control the speed and torque of an air conditioning motor, like those used in an inverter compressor.