Your HVAC Glossary

If you have ever shopped for a new furnace or air conditioner, or even had a technician out to assess your home, chances are that you did not understand a word that came out of their mouths when explaining issues or maintenance requirements with your system.

This week, we are looking at some of the most common terms we use when we’re speaking with our customers.

Air Handler

The air handler is the indoor part of a split heating and/or cooling system. It is responsible for circulating the air.


Boilers were very popular in home construction about a century ago. They used hot water to circulate steam heat throughout the different areas of the home or office. The dead giveaway that a building used boiler heat? Radiators in most of the rooms!


BTU is short for British Thermal Unit, and is a measurement of heat energy. If this is being used by your technician to describe a heating system, then the BTU measures the amount of heat output. If it’s describing an air conditioning or cooling system, then the BTU number measures the cooling capacity of the unit in question.

Central Air Conditioning

Central Air Conditioning is now the “norm” for modern houses and workplaces. In this system, all of the air is directed through one central location and then distributed through the rest of the building via ductwork. For most systems, pieces are “split,” usually with one part of the unit being inside and the other outside.


For split central air conditioning systems, the condenser is the outdoor portion of the unit. The condenser’s main function is to release the heat accumulated by the indoor portion of the air conditioning system.

Ductless Mini-Split

Ductless mini-split systems are also becoming more popular for housing and offices. They allow for zoned comfort in the building without having to run new ductwork.


Your furnace is your heating system. It is responsible for heating the air and distributing it through a series of ducts. The furnace is often combined with your air conditioning system for a full “HVAC system” for your home or business.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps handle both heating and cooling. These work best in moderate climates where temperatures do not regularly fall below freezing.


HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This term is typically used to describe your home or office’s entire heating and cooling system.


Refrigerant is used in an air conditioning system to absorb heat from indoor air. The most commonly used refrigerant over the past decades has been R-22, commonly known as Freon, but it is currently being phased out.


The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the efficiency of air conditioning units. A higher SEER rating means that the air conditioning system is more efficient.

Split System

A split system is the most common residential HVAC system. The split system consists of two main components: the indoor component (air handler) and the outdoor component (the condenser). Split systems routinely run through your ductwork in your home.  

Having an HVAC emergency? Our Omaha HVAC professionals and Dubuque HVAC professionals are available 24 hours a day to ensure your heating and cooling system is working properly.


With our team of qualified, courteous Omaha HVAC professionals and Dubuque HVAC professionals, we will keep your home or business comfortable year-round! For over 25 years, ServiceOne has been trusted to provide top-notch sales and service to homes and businesses in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area and in Dubuque, Iowa. With over 90 employees standing by ready to help, you can always trust us to deliver 100% satisfactory service. We also offer Home Warranty & Service Agreements, plumbing services, electrical services, Appliance Repair, and help with Generators and Home & Business Automation. For more information about our services, contact us today!

Previous Page