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It’s helpful to be familiar with the HVAC terms that are commonly used during the short South Florida heating season. They help you understand your heating system better and have an informed conversation with an HVAC technician. Here are some important heating season terms you should know.


The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is a measurement of the heating efficiency of a furnace. A higher AFUE rating implies a higher efficiency.

Air handler

This is the indoor part of a heat pump that houses important elements that control airflow and filtration. It’s responsible for pushing heated air throughout your home’s ductwork.


A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a measure of the heat energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by a single degree. A higher BTU rating implies a greater heating capacity.

Heat exchanger

This furnace component transfers heat from the burning fuel to the surrounding air that’s later delivered throughout your home.

Heat pump

This HVAC unit can heat or cool your home depending on the season. In the winter, it collects heat from the outside air and deposits it in your home through your ductwork.


The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is a measurement of a heat pump’s efficiency. A higher HSPF rating indicates a higher heating efficiency.

Load calculation

This mathematical process is used to determine how much heating your HVAC system has to deliver for your comfort and safety. It’s based on several factors such as the number of household occupants, the orientation of your home, square footage, the number of windows and local climate.

Two-stage operation

This means that the heating system provides two output levels for enhanced energy efficiency, indoor air quality and temperature control.

As your heating system nears the end of its useful life, understanding industry terminology will help you make a good purchase decision. To learn more heating season terms, please contact us at NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating, proudly serving Palm Beach, Indian River, and Martin counties.