From keeping your family comfortable to protecting your home's indoor air quality, your heating and cooling system is an imperative part of your house. Unfortunately, most people do not place emphasis on understanding the function, installation and maintenance required for this complicated system.

Half of your home's total energy usage goes towards heating and cooling, so making sure you understand HVAC terminology is essential before updating or replacing your system to ensure proper function and maximum efficiency.

With this guide and your contractor's help, you will learn a few common HVAC terms that will help you navigate this system and home ownership.


One of the most important terms you need to know regarding your heating and cooling system is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The SEER rating refers the amount of cooling capacity to the power input. Basically, the higher SEER your system offers, the more energy efficient it will be.

For example, if you know you will be running your air conditioning excessively, a higher SEER is best to reduce the risk of energy waste while cooling the home.

Federal regulations state that air conditioning systems must have a minimum SEER rating of 13 or 14. However, choosing a SEER number is not the only factor to consider if you need to replace your system. Make sure to take your local climate into consideration when choosing an AC unit with a specific SEER.


While surprising, tons does not have anything to do with the unit's weight. Tons is the measurement of the air conditioning unit's capacity to remove heat. Understanding how many tons your system offers is also important, especially if you need to update your heating and cooling system.

Thankfully, you can calculate the correct number of tons your home will require. On average, one ton is capable of removing 12,000 BTUs, or British Thermal Units, from the home each hour. To cool one square foot of your home, 25 BTUs are necessary.

For example, a home with approximately 2,000 square feet will require 50,000 BTUs. To complete the calculations, a four-ton unit would be sufficient for cooling this home.

Without the proper tonnage, the system will struggle to cool your home. This will leave you and your family uncomfortable in the hot months of summer while wasting energy that increases your monthly bills.


The refrigerant of your air conditioning system has nothing to do with the refrigerator inside your home. This gas or fluid is actually a key component of your system's ability to cool the home because it absorbs heat. In addition, the refrigerant works alongside the compressor and condenser to move the warm air out of your home.

The R22 is the most common type of refrigerant used in air conditioner systems today. It is less hazardous to the environment when compared to the R12 refrigerant that was commonly used years ago.

The R410a refrigerant is becoming more and more popular because it does not contain chlorine, making it the safest option for the environment. Also, R410a is best for an improved air quality, and typically more efficient as well.

If your air conditioner is struggling to cool your home, it may be low on refrigerant. Only licensed contractors are able to refill refrigerant in HVAC systems, so do not attempt this project on your own.

It is also important to note that the type of refrigerant used depends on your system requirements. If your existing system accepts R22, you must use R22 or retrofit the system to allow the more efficient and eco-friendly R410a.

Heating and cooling is an involved part of your home, but most homeowners do not realize its importance. To understand, maintain, repair or replace your heating and cooling systems, contact the professionals at Seliga Heating and Cooling today.

Contact Us Today!Get a FREE No-Obligation Quote

Contact Us