furnaces BTUs UV Lights

Say What? Understanding How Your Equipment Works | Part I

If you’ve ever had a conversation with an HVAC technician at some point you’ve probably heard a phrase that sounds foreign or an acronym that you don’t understand. Overwhelmed is the last thing you should feel about your heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality system.

But do not fear, we’re here to help. The following are some of the most common phrases, terms, acronyms, and words our technicians most frequently get questions on when they’re talking with homeowners.


This acronym usually follows some large number, like 80,000, that’s associated with your furnace. Short for “British Thermal Unit”, they’re a measurement that determines how much energy is needed to heat your home. So the bigger the home, the more BTUs needed to efficiently heat it. (more on BTU)


Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is how the efficiency of an air conditioner is determined. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the air conditioner is. (more on SEER)

92% Efficiency

Today’s basic standard for furnace efficiency is 92%. We offer furnaces with efficiency ratings as high as 96%. What does it mean? If you looked at a single dollar, the percentage would tell you how many of those pennies are actually heating your home. So your 92% efficiency furnace will use 92¢ of that dollar to heat your home. The remaining 8¢ unfortunately doesn’t heat your home.

UV Light

This one might be a little simpler. UV stands for ultra violet. These lights are installed in your duct work and work similar to a catalytic converter by eliminating the mold, bacteria, and mildew in your air.

Setback Thermostat

Also known as a programmable thermostat, a setback thermostat helps you program your home to be a certain temperatures at specific times of the day. So while you’re gone at work all day in the winter, you can set the thermostat to lower the temperature 2-5 degrees and have it return to your ideal temperature by the time you get home. Not only do you have more control, it can help you lower your energy bill.

There are a ton of other things we could address here about your furnace, but we’ll just call this post “Part 1”. What are some other things relating to your furnace and other heating and cooling equipment that you’d like to know more about?

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