Our air conditioning installation experts share some common AC terms

  • Happy woman reading book while turning on air conditioner with remote control at home

Talking to an air conditioning technician shouldn’t be like conversing with a robot!

But sometimes it can feel that way. Why? Because air conditioning installation is a field that’s filled to the top with jargon, acronyms and technical language.

And sometimes it can be hard to understand exactly what your air conditioning technician is trying to say.

We know you want the best when it comes to air conditioning installation and repair. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of common air conditioning terms!



Many people use HVAC synonymously with air conditioning – this isn’t completely correct.

Standing for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”, HVAC is a bit like an all-in-one heating and cooling system.

While air conditioning is part of HVAC, it’s not the entire system!

Like the name suggests, HVAC refers to systems that heat and cool your home.

While in practice most modern air conditioners are capable of both heating and cooling, not all of them are. Thus, the distinction between AC and HVAC is still important.


Reverse cycle technology

When you turn on your air conditioner, you instigate a process that transforms hot air into refreshing cool air, creating a pleasant and comfortable space.

Both split system and ducted air conditioning operate on the same principle, which you can learn more about here.

What reverse cycle air conditioning refers to is systems that can utilise this same system but in reverse.

This is what allows your air conditioner to double up as a heater during winter. When we talk about HVAC, this is usually what powers it!


Split system air conditioning

When it comes to air conditioning installation in Brisbane, the vast majority of jobs are for split system air conditioners.

Split into two components – one indoors and the other outside – split systems are ideal for smaller areas or individual rooms.

The indoor unit does the cooling, while the outdoor unit (the compressor) recycles refrigerant to keep the cold air flowing.

Closeup view about using some appliance such as air condition.

Ducted heating and cooling

For bigger homes and workplaces, a split system just won’t cut it. In these cases, ducted air conditioning installation might be the way to go.

What makes this different is that both the functions of a split system – cooling and recycling refrigerant – is performed in the one unit. The vents just act as a way to distribute this air throughout your home.

The result is a constant temperature throughout the property from a central control panel, without the need to juggle a dozen individual air conditioners.



So you own a ducted cooling system. That’s great – now you can enjoy cool air throughout your home or business.

But what if you’re only using one room at the moment? That can seem a little wasteful, right?

Zoning allows you to control which room your ducted air conditioner delivers cooling to.

Using dividers and gates in your ducting, you can close off sections.

The result? Heating and cooling only where you need it, and better control over your power bills.



Your air conditioner doesn’t magically convert hot air onto cool air. No, it uses a complex process, and refrigerant is the key!

Refrigerant is responsible for cooling your home, but not in the way you might think.

When liquid heats up and evaporates, it tends to absorb heat along the way. This is the “heat pump” principle, and it powers modern air conditioning.

Unlike water, air conditioning refrigerant is selected based on the low temperatures it needs to convert into vapour.

Since it evaporates so quickly, your air conditioner can get to cooling a lot faster, and with less energy.


Air purifier

Air conditioning installation doesn’t just cool down your home – it also improves air quality around your house too.

Many air conditioning systems come with inbuilt air purifiers.

These remove allergens, pollutants, bacteria and odours from the air in your home – a real lifesaver if you suffer from respiratory diseases or allergies.


Heating/cooling capacity

Like the name suggests, this is a measure of how much cooling your air conditioning system puts out.

In Australia, cooling (and heating) capacity are measured in kilowatts (kW) in accordance with Australian and New Zealand standards.

It’s important to note that this isn’t standardised. In fact, many international manufacturers measure cooling capacity in BTUs – British Thermal Units.


How can I learn more?

You can’t go into air conditioning installation blind.

While your air conditioning installation team will do their best to tell it to you straight using plain English, it’s still a good idea to familiarise yourself with these common terms.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can always check out our FAQ page. You can also take a quick flick through our blog, which covers a wide range of air conditioning topics and helpful advice.


Looking at air conditioning installation in Brisbane?

Combine 30 years of experience and a catalogue that includes some of Australia’s favourite brands, and you’ve got Tri-Tech: Brisbane’s air conditioning installation experts of choice!

Whether you own a home in Brisbane, a property in Ascot, or a warehouse in Murarrie, our air conditioning experts make choosing the perfect air conditioner a piece of cake.

Contact us today for a free quote or give us a call on (07) 3394 0222 to see how we can help!

2022-01-22T01:55:46+00:00 8 October 2018|Systems|