Become an HVAC Acronyms Expert - Sun Heating & Cooling, Inc.

Become an HVAC Acronyms Expert


SUN: Are you an HVAC expert?
CUSTOMER: No, that’s what you’re here for, Sun.

Is that what you’d say?
Well, good point, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t love to teach you a few things!

Maybe you’re about to invest in a new HVAC system, or maybe you’re just curious. Either way, we’re going to fill you in on all the hottest lingo that all the techs are using nowadays. You’ll fit right in!


Since we’re talking HVAC acronyms, let’s start at the very beginning. HVAC is the acronym for heating ventilation and air conditioning.


You may already have an idea of what AFUE is, or that 90% is better than 80%. But let’s go a bit more in-depth!

First of all, AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. This is a measure of how good your furnace is at converting fuel into usable heat. Stated another way, how much fuel gets wasted in the process?

The term AFUE is usually applied just to combustion devices (combustion is the process of gas being converted to energy), but this metric can also be used to describe electric furnaces, namely that their AFUE rating is going to be between 95% and 100%!

You’ll see the acronym applied to furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. And now, you’ll know what it means!


This is another HVAC acronym that may send you reeling or hunting for a dictionary! BTU stands for British thermal unit, and before you say, “I’m not British!” know that the concept of a BTU is pretty simple.

It’s just a unit describing how much heat something can produce. For example, your furnace might produce about 100,000 BTUs.

Just in case you are dying to know more … one British thermal unit is the amount of heat, or cold, required to make one pound of water one degree hotter. You might think that if it’s a pound of water, then this unit of measurement would only apply to water heaters. But no!

The unit “BTU” still be used to refer to the amount of heat or cold in a system; for example, if your air conditioner has 12,000 BTUs, that means it produces enough coldness that, in theory, that coldness would be able to cool 12,000 pounds of water by a degree.

It’s a bit of a silly measurement, we agree, but like any other unit of measurement, it’s valuable as long as you know what’s standard. Then, you can compare that standard to other numbers. So let us give you the averages: air conditioners are about 8,000 to 12,000 BTUs per hour, and as we said above, the average furnace for the average home size is about 100,000 BTUs.

That means, if your HVAC system is significantly out of this range, you may have some questions to ask your tech!

Wait a minute, questions to ask your tech? But aren’t you an HVAC acronym master now?

Well … here’s one more.


That brings us to our last acronym, NATE. And, although you can visit their website to learn more, we’ll give you a quick summary:

NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence, and it is a nonprofit certification organization that certifies heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians. (Hey, there’s another acronym!) NATE tests include a written/book exam as well as an installation exam.

This certification guarantees that our techs are more than book-smart! 😉

Now that you know some of the main HVAC acronyms, you’re book-smart … AND we know you have lots of common sense, too!

That’s why, for all your HVAC-related issues, you’ll call Sun Heating at (248) 986-1506 or contact us online!

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