Common HVAC Acronyms to Know and Understand

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One of the most confusing parts of owning or buying a new HVAC system is dealing with all the HVAC acronyms. Sometimes it feels like learning a whole different language. BTU? VAV? AFUE?

All the acronyms can be confusing for any homeowner. Let’s break down some of the most common.

Common HVAC Acronyms

  • BTU – This stands for ‘British Thermal Unit’. BTU is a unit used to measure heat. This is a practical way of measuring how much heat your A/C can remove from the air.
  • CFM – This acronym stands for ‘cubic feet per minute’. It’s a strong way to measure air volume, and it displays how many cubic feet of air passes a specific point in one minute. CFM lets us know how big of an A/C unit you will need.
  • FPM – This is ‘feet per minute’ and refers to the speed of airflow. CFM measures how much air gets moved in a minute, while FPM measures how fast the air is moving. FPM is also a factor in determining the size of your HVAC system.
  • VAV – A variable air volume system is a type of HVAC system that controls temperatures by adjusting air volume, or how much air it’s putting out. This type of system is often used in residential homes.
  • CAV – A constant air volume system always puts out the same amount of air, but air temperature changes up and down. This type of system is most often found in smaller commercial buildings.
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