Technical Definitions

Glossary of Terms:

80% AFUE: This type of furnace is 80% efficient. Stated another way, approximately 80% of the gas burned goes to heat the house. The remaining 20% of the heat is expelled up the chimney.

90% AFUE: This type of furnace is 98% efficient. For every dollar of gas that the furnace consumes, 90 to 98 cents goes into heating the house with the remaining few pennies being wasted. This type of furnace is also referred to as a condensing furnace because when gas is burned it produces water vapor which is condensed inside the furnace.

AFUE:  Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.  This is a measure of the average efficiency of a gas burning appliance over a period of a year, in this case a furnace or boiler.

Adaptive Heat Stage Control:  A control which enables the furnace to modulate the gas burner and blower speed to provide just the right amount of heat needed by the house to maintain temperature without the temperature swings associated with single stage equipment.

Air Filter:  Standard:  1” mesh type disposal filter provides the lowest level of filtration.  This type of filter must be changed once a month to prevent equipment breakdown.  See “Media Air Filter”, “HEPA Filter” and “Infinity Air Purifier” below.

Burner Stages:  A multiple stage furnace burner can operate at partial or full heating capacity based on how much heat is required to maintain the desired temperature within the home.  These systems are designed to increase comfort and reduce operating costs in all weather conditions.

Chimney Liner:  A flexible metal tube installed in the masonry chimney to reduce the internal size of the chimney. A liner is necessary to prevent condensation due to the installation of smaller, more efficient heating equipment.  If condensation were allowed to occur, it would eventually damage the existing chimney.

Compressor:  The compressor is the electro-mechanical heart of the cooling system. It is a pump that moves refrigerant under pressure from the outside condensing unit to the indoor evaporator coil to extract heat from inside the home and expel that heat outside the home thereby cooling the house.

Condensate Pump:  A receiver and pump that allows condensate from the air conditioner, 90% efficient furnace, or water from a humidifier to be pumped to a drain.  A condensate pump is necessary if the furnace is not located near a floor drain.

Condensing Unit:  The heart of the cooling system which sits outside the house.  The condensing unit contains a compressor and a condensing heat exchanger. The compressor circulates refrigerant through the system to draw heat from the inside of the home and expels that heat to the outside via the condensing heat exchanger.

Condenser Pad:  This pad sits underneath and supports the condensing unit and keeps the unit level. If an air conditioning condenser is not level, it can cause damage requiring expensive repairs or premature replacement.

Drier:  A filter installed into the air conditioning system that protects the system.

Electric Disconnect:  An exterior electric switch that allows a service technician to disconnect power to the condenser for ease of maintenance.

Electronic Air Filter:  Uses metal mesh filters and electrostatic cells to remove minute particles from the return air.  Mesh pre-filters need to be cleaned monthly and cells require cleaning every 90 days. Provides a high level of filtration with the least resistance to air flow but consumes electricity to do so.

Evaporator Coil:  The other half of the air conditioning system.  This heat exchanger sits downstream of the furnace.  Refrigerant flows through the evaporator to absorb heat from the house. The evaporator must be matched to the condensing unit to obtain the stated efficiency.

Extended Warranty:  Increases the manufacturer’s equipment warranty and the contractor’s labor warranty for a full 10 years.  Please note that the customer must be able to prove that proper annual equipment maintenance has been performed for an extended warranty to remain in effect. 

Heat Exchanger:  Natural gas burns inside the heat exchanger and transfers that heat to the air in the home or water for the radiators. The combustion byproducts are then carried out of the heat exchanger through the flue system to the chimney or directly outside the house.

HEPA Filter:  This system filters a percentage of the air returning to the furnace providing the highest level of particle filtration.

Home Care Club:  A low cost preventative maintenance agreement for your heating and cooling system.  The equipment manufacturer and the extended warranty company both require that new equipment be properly maintained for the warranties to remain in effect.  Even though the equipment is new, one year of usage will make a new unit just as dirty as one year of usage on an old unit.  For this reason, we recommend our customers take advantage of our Home Care Club pricing on preventative maintenance equipment tune-ups. Click here to see all the benefits of our Home Care Club.

HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator):  Exchanges stale building air with fresh outdoor air. Fresh air is filtered and heated (or cooled) with a recovery system that allows for more energy efficient operation.

Humidifier:  A device that maintains the proper humidity level in the home.  The humidifier is attached to the furnace ductwork that adds moisture to the air.  Proper humidity levels, typically between 20% to 50% relative humidity, is necessary to make your home comfortable during the heating season.  Proper humidity reduces dry throat and skin, reduces static shocks, keeps furniture and your home from cracking, and increases equipment energy efficiency.  It’s become well known that a home with proper humidity feels warmer than a dry home, even at lower temperature settings.

Humidity Control:  The furnace and air conditioner work together to reduce the humidity levels in the home without providing significant cooling.  This mode of operation can increase comfort on humid days with a mild temperature.

HVAC:  Stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.  It refers to the entire system that heats and cools your house which includes not only the furnace, air conditioner, air cleaner, and humidifier but the ductwork that conveys the conditioned air throughout the house.

Infinity Air Purifier:  The Infinity Air Purifier is Carrier’s premier air purification solution.  It’s ideal for homeowners with allergy concerns, those susceptible to airborne germs, such as infants and the elderly, and those sensitive to the effects of mold, pollen, pets, and more.

  • The Infinity Air Purifier offers extremely high air filtration efficiency and patented germicidal technology so effective it even captures and kills airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and mold.
  • Treats the air throughout the entire home.
  • Technology trusted to protect secure government facilities and hospital room patients.
  • No cleaning is required, simply remove and replace the media cartridge to maintain peak performance.
  • Replacement cartridges (replaced annually) currently cost $95.00

Click here to see the Infinity Air Purifier brochure:

Infinity Control:  The infinity system combines Carrier’s best products into the world’s most complete residential comfort system.  By combining Carrier’s variable speed furnaces, a Carrier air-conditioning unit and the Infinity Control, this system maximizes comfort, energy savings, and peace of mind.  At the heart of the system is the Infinity Control which features the largest backlit liquid crystal display in the industry, making it easier to read, even at night.  Intuitive prompts let you program everything from humidity levels to fan speeds, giving you the ultimate control over your home comfort.  Standard features include:

  • 4-wire installation means less expense associated with pulling new thermostat wire.
  • Intuitive on-screen prompts for ease of installation and service.
  • Ideal humidity settings to automatically control humidity levels.
  • Complete integration of the temperature, humidity, and ventilation in every season.
  • 7-day programmability with 2 or 4 periods per day.
  • Easy timed programming override schedule.
  • Simplified vacation schedule.
  • Day-at-a-glance programming for simplified ease of use.
  • Programmable fan by period.
  • Automatically detects and notifies you of a dirty air filter.
  • Indoor Air Quality pop up reminders.
  • General maintenance reminder messaging.
  • 5-year warranty

Click here to view the Infinity Control brochure.

Line-set:  Tubing that connects the outdoor condensing unit to the indoor evaporator coil. The line-set allows refrigerant to circulate through the system.

Load Calculation:  This is a necessary step to ensure that the heating and cooling equipment we are going to install in your house is properly sized for the house.  This job is performed by measuring the entire house, or at least the zone controlled by the HVAC system being replaced, and applying a bit of science related to the heat transfer properties of the various building materials used in the construction of your home coupled with our average weather data.  Bigger is not better as it relates to heating and cooling equipment.  An oversized unit will short cycle, which greatly reduces efficiency, and will run hotter than it should, which will shorten the life of the unit.  An oversized air conditioner will leave the occupants with a cold and clammy feeling or not work at all.

Media Air Filter:  A 4” to 5” thick filter designed to catch smaller particles. Requires replacement once every six months.

Modulating:  This type of furnace can regulate the amount of gas to exactly meet the amount of heat required to keep the home comfortable.  This allows for the most efficient furnace operation during all weather conditions.

Return Air Box:  A sheet metal box that sits under the furnace which helps to increase air flow through the furnace.  Increased air flow improves the overall efficiency of the heating and cooling system.

Return Drop:    Sheet metal duct that conveys the return air to the furnace.  The return drop will sometimes include a rack for holding a 1” thick filter.

RGF Guardian Air Purifier:  Stated simply, this system disinfects your home like an invisible spray of Lysol.  To be more exact, this system uses a combination UVC lamp with a photohydroionization (PHI) cell.  This unit creates 0.01 to 0.02 parts per million (as diluted in the air within the home) of hydroperoxide and hydroxide ions which are friendly oxidizers.  By friendly, the oxidizers will revert back to oxygen and hydrogen after the destruction of the pollutant.  The system will reduce or completely eliminate odors, air pollutants, VOC’s (chemical odors), smoke, mold, and bacteria and viruses, including Swine Flu, Candida, Bird Flu, Norwalk, Listeria, MRSA, E.coli, Bacillius sp, and Strep with a 99+% kill rate on surfaces and / or airborne.  Kill rates confirmed by independent testing laboratories. 

SEER:  Stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of the overall efficiency of the air conditioning condensing unit.  For example, a 12 SEER unit will use ½ the electricity as a 6 SEER unit under the same operating conditions.  For comparison, a 16 SEER unit will use about 23% less electricity than a 13 SEER unit under the same operating conditions.

Single Stage Burner:  The furnace burner operates at one continuous rate from the time the burner starts until the thermostat is satisfied and the furnace burner shuts off.

Thermostat:  The thermostat controls the temperature in the home by turning the furnace and air conditioner on and off.  The simplest way to cut your heating and cooling bills is to install an electronic programmable thermostat. These thermostats provide pinpoint accuracy and control for improved efficiency over old-fashioned mechanical thermostats.  Programmable thermostats will automatically adjust your home’s temperature on the schedule you decide and are far easier to program than earlier models.  Internet based thermostats are available that can be programmed and monitored via a smart phone, tablet, or computer.  These thermostats can alert you if the temperature in the home becomes hotter or colder than emergency threshold set by the homeowner.

Two Pipe Vent System:  Our venting will consist of two properly sized PVC pipes run from the furnace to the outside of your home.  One pipe will bring combustion air to the furnace and the other will exhaust the products of combustion.  Many competitiors will only install one pipe for exhaust only, drawing combustion air from your living space, which will have adverse effects on the air quality in your home. 

Two Stage Burner:  The furnace burner operates at 70% of capacity on startup and only increases to its full capacity when needed. This system is designed to increase comfort and reduce operating costs in all weather conditions.

UV Filter:  Installed in the furnace duct work, these units reduce odors, kill bacteria, mold, and mildew.  Requires bulb replacement once per year.

Variable Speed Blower:  The furnace blower motor can run at the speed necessary to provide just the right amount of heat required to properly heat the house. This allows the system to maximize energy savings and comfort. Manufactures show an average savings of $300.00 per year with this type of blower motor.

Zone Control System:  This system is installed to separate the structure into separate heating and cooling zones.  The environment of each zone is controlled by a separate thermostat (or zone controller).  Typically the number of possible zones is dependent upon the layout of the ductwork within the structure.

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Ravinia Plumbing
1580 Old Skokie Rd
Highland Park, IL 60035
P: (847) 579-5565
F: (847) 831-5694
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*Based on research conducted January - August 2016