Common HVAC Abbreviations and Acronyms

whiteboard with HVAC abbreviations written in colorful ink

What Does BTU Stand For? (And Other HVAC Abbreviations, Explained)

The HVAC industry packs in plenty of abbreviations to describe an array of devices, metrics, and rating systems. Homeowners usually pick up HVAC terms and vocabulary quickly, but even the most dedicated can’t always remember what every HVAC acronym and abbreviation stands for!

It’s easier to remember these terms with a little context. We’ve collected some of the most common HVAC acronyms and what our customers hope to learn more about.

What Does HVAC Stand For?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. HVAC covers residential, commercial, and industrial heating and cooling systems and interior and exterior airflow. HVAC technicians are trained to handle repairs, maintenance, and replacement of heating and cooling units and ductwork.

What Does BTU Stand For?

BTU is an acronym for British Thermal Units. One BTU is the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Residential HVAC technicians rely on BTU measurements to determine the correct size heating or cooling system for your home.

What’s a BTUH?

BTUH stands for British Thermal Unit Hour. A BTUH is the time-based variant of a British Thermal Unit and is used to measure the capacity of a heating or cooling system in one hour.

What is a MERV Rating?

MERV ratings are the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values of an air filter. MERV ratings are based on a 1–16-point scale. A MERV rating between 1–4 indicates a filter can capture an airborne particle between 3 and 10 microns in diameter less than 20% of the time. The top MERV rating of 16 can trap particles between 0.30 and 1.0 microns less than or equal to 95% of the time.

What does HEPA mean?

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. HEPA filters meet the highest standards for air filters in HVAC systems or portable air purifiers. They can capture 99.7% of airborne particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter. This makes HEPA filters an excellent choice to capture potentially harmful indoor air pollution, including:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Bacteria

All MERV-rated and HEPA filters need to be replaced regularly to function efficiently. Follow the recommendations of the manufacturer and install a new filter on schedule. Your home may also benefit from a whole-home air scrubber!

What Does SEER Mean?

SEER is an acronym that stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This measures the cooling output of a window air conditioner throughout a cooling season divided by the aggregate energy used as measured in Watt-hours.

The average SEER rating for window AC units in the U.S. is 16. A rating of 14 is considered good, and the most efficient units earn a rating of 23.


Energy Efficiency Rating also measures the cooling output of an AC unit over a full year and is used exclusively to measure central air conditioning or heat pumps. SEER only refers to window air conditioning units.

We Know Our HVAC ABCs

You can always count on C.M. Mose & Son technicians to offer friendly and professional service. No jargon, no gimmicks. We offer reliable HVAC repairs at a fair price every time. See why Pleasant Valley and the Kansas City area trust C.M. Mose & Son. Call 816-339-5190 or book an appointment online today!
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