HVAC Terms Every Mid-Ohio Homeowner Should Understand

Does it ever feel as if your HVAC contractor is speaking another language? Just because you're not an industry professional doesn't mean that you shouldn't understand some common HVAC terms. By taking a moment to learn these HVAC terms, you'll be able to communicate with your technician more effectively.

  • AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency represents how efficiently a furnace or boiler converts its fuel into heat, denoted as a percentage. A furnace with an AFUE of 95 percent, for example, will convert 95 percent of its fuel's energy into usable heat for your home while the other 5 percent is lost. That level of AFUE is considered high efficiency.
  • BTU – The British Thermal Unit is a commonly used expression of heat energy. BTUs are also often used to describe a heating system's energy consumption or to describe your home's energy usage on your utility bill.
  • Ductwork – Your home's ductwork is an essential system that works to transport heated or cooled air from your furnace, heat pump or A/C through piping and into the living areas of your house.
  • Energy Star – This government program is dedicated to distinguishing the most energy-efficient products as a means of preserving resources and helping homeowners to save money on energy. 


  • HSPF – The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is an efficiency rating for the heating component of heat pumps. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system.
  • Manual J – Manual J is an industry standard protocol that is utilized to calculate the heating and cooling loads of a building. These calculations are used to determine the correctly sized heating and cooling equipment for a particular space. 
  • MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value rates the efficiency of air filters. An air filter with a higher MERV rating will capture smaller airborne particles.
  • SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio shows how well an A/C or heat pump provides cooling over a season. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.
To learn more helpful HVAC terms, please contact us at Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating, Inc. We proudly serve the Mid-Ohio area.


Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Mid-Ohio area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about HVAC terms and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

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