It’s not necessary to become an expert in the operation and repair of an air conditioning system. However, basic knowledge of common HVAC lingo, air conditioning terms, and

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the components and machinery used in the air conditioning business will help if and when the time comes when you must contact an AC company.

6 of the Most Common Air Conditioning Terms

Air conditioning is our best friend during the hot summer months in Tampa Bay so get to know it a little better with these common terms. Some of the important terms used include:

1. British Thermal Unit (BTU)

A popular method for cooling before air conditioners existed was to use giant blocks of ice. The rate at which those blocks melted was measured in a ‘ton’ of cooling. Today, this same amount of cooling is measured in British
Thermal Units. The number of BTUs an air conditioner provides is a measure of how large of a space the unit will be able to cool.


2. Refrigerant

A common problem when an air conditioner no longer seems to work is a refrigerant leak.
The system cycles coolant through the system by turning it into a gas in the evaporator and
returning it to a liquid through the condenser. A lack of refrigerant or coolant means the system won’t cool anything.


3. Air Filter

Homeowners are commonly advised to change out their air conditioner’s filter on a regular basis. The air filter makes sure that tiny particles aren’t cycled through the machinery and aren’t allowed
to return to the cool air in the home. A clogged filter reduces AC efficiency and increases electricity use.


4. Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil forces the coolant to turn into a gaseous state by allowing the refrigerant
to absorb heat and swiftly vaporize. The evaporator is part of the continuous
system of coolant transfer that also includes the condenser and the compressor.


5. Condenser

The condenser is the outdoor unit to your air conditioning system. When the coolant from the evaporator has been turned
into a gas, it will return to the condenser to be turned back into a liquid.
A condenser will use a compressor to increase the pressure of the refrigerant to force it to turn back into a liquid.

6. Compressor

The compressor is part of the condenser assembly, and as the name would suggest, increases the pressure around the coolant by reducing its volume.
The compressor is part of the refrigerant cycle that repeats itself over and over again within the AC machinery.