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7 HVAC & Plumbing Terms You Should Know

The mechanical engineering field includes hundreds of acronyms and abbreviations for HVAC and plumbing terms. Most of them won’t be relevant to your everyday life. However, learning the basic mechanical engineering behind heating and cooling principles can save you time and money. Check out our list of 7 HVAC and plumbing terms you should know.

  1. AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

    AFUE is a measure of how efficiently your furnace can utilize its fuel. The more efficient your furnace, the more heat you will get per unit of fuel. The Federal Trade Commission requires furnaces (including boilers) to display their model number and the model’s AFUE.  This allows consumers to compare the heating efficiencies of various models.

  2. BTU: British Thermal Unit

    BTU is the unit of measurement for thermal (heat) energy. Selecting a unit with the appropriate BTU for your home is important because it is used to calculate the amount of energy a unit can deliver. The power you need for your home is going to depend on several factors since every heating and cooling need is different.

  3. COP: Coefficient Of Performance

    COP is the ratio of the energy output to the input. For example, a 97% efficient furnace gives you back 97% of the energy you put into it in the form of heat for your home. The higher the efficiency of your system, the lower your heating bills.

  4. DWV: Drainage, Waste & Vent

    The DWV pipes in your home carry wastewater out of your house and into a city sewer line or septic tank. When wastewater enters the drain system, it has to flow past a U- or P-shaped piece of pipe that creates a water seal to prevent sewer gases from entering the home.

  5. GPF: Gallons Per Flush

    Energy Policy Act required that toilets use no more than 3.5 GPF Lift up the cover on your toilet tank and take a look at the underside. It may indicate straight up how many gallons per flush the particular model uses, but it might only provide the year in which it was manufactured. This bit of information still tells you a lot. If your toilet was manufactured before 1992, it likely uses several gallons of water for each flush.

  6. EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio

    The EER is a way to determine how efficiently your home’s HVAC system operates. The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. When buying a new air conditioner or furnace, look for the ENERGY STAR

  7. HVAC: Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

    HVAC refers to the different systems, machines, and technologies used in residential and commercial systems that need environmental regulation to improve comfort. They are the systems that keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. These systems also filter and clean indoor air to keep you healthy.

Decoding a few of the most common HVAC and plumbing terms will help you understand how your systems operate. It’s always important to research the efficiency of any new air conditioner or heater and also how it will affect other parts of your system. Ask your HVAC contractor to check your system and make sure your ductwork and insulation is in good shape so you can enjoy the maximum possible energy efficiency.