HVAC unit on outside of house

Important HVAC Terms to Understand

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In the Valley of the Sun, your HVAC system is key for maintaining indoor comfort. Knowing cooling and heating basics can be helpful when you want to understand how things work allowing you to recognize, diagnose, and fix simple issues more easily. Plus, you can more effectively communicate with your local HVAC professionals when needed.

Here’s a list of some common HVAC terms homeowners should know:

Air Handler

The air handler looks like a large metal box and is located inside your house. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil that’s responsible for adding or absorbing heat.


This component is known as the heart of an air conditioner or heat pump. It pumps refrigerant through your system to circulate coolant throughout your home.

Condensing Unit

The condensing unit sits outside of your house and it’s the part that most looks like an AC unit. This component holds the refrigerant gas that’s passed into the evaporator coils used to cool the air.


Ductwork is the network of channels and pipes connected to the HVAC system that distribute cool and hot air throughout your home.


The furnace is one of the largest single parts of an HVAC system. It’s usually installed in an attic or a closet. The furnace doesn’t actually create heat. It pushes hot or cold air through the ductwork into the rest of your house.

Heat Pump

A heat pump is an HVAC unit that heats or cools by moving heat. For heat, the pump removes heat from outdoor air and circulates it inside through your house’s air ducts. The heat pump reverses this process when it’s used for air conditioning.


The Season Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures the energy efficiency of your air conditioning unit or heat pump. Higher SEER ratings mean lower energy costs to run the unit.

Split System (Zoned)

A split system zoned is a type of HVAC system that allows for controlling the temperature in different rooms in your house. It’s usually a ductless system with small units in each room delivering hot or cold air.

Call Bruce’s

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one of the most important parts of any home. If you need HVAC repairs, system maintenance, or if you’d like professional advice on replacing your HVAC system, contact Bruce’s today at 480-968-5652 to schedule an appointment. Since 1972, our expert technicians have been providing the highest quality products and services to homeowners in the Valley of the Sun. We’re available seven days a week including evenings and holidays.

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