Heating and Cooling Terms Explained

Sometimes industry jargon can be intimidating. We at Alkota Plumbing and Heating would like to explain a few HVAC terms to make you feel more comfortable the next time you need to talk tech with your technician.


HVAC is pronounced by saying the letter “H,” then “VAC.” It stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It’s a blanket term, referring to different types of air treatment services. Sometimes it may appear HVACR, which means the same, just with Refrigeration added to the services.

MERV Rating

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. We use this when we’re talking about the quality of air filters. It has to do with the level of filtration. The higher the MERV, the finer level of filtration that filter offers.


NATE is an abbreviation for North American Technician Excellence. It’s an industry-wide rating system used to review home heating-and-cooling technicians. It’s comparable to the Michelin Star for chefs, except it’s for HVAC technicians.


SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and is the cumulative efficiency rating for an air conditioning unit. It can be calculated by taking the cooling output during a season and dividing it by the total amount of energy input. Higher SEER equals higher efficiency.

Zoning System

A zoning system refers to when a home or building is sectioned into heating-and-cooling zones that run independently of one another. Each zone has separate control over the temperature of that area, many times each zone having its own thermostat.

We at Alkota Plumbing and Heating of Anchorage, AK, hope this helps you understand some of our more common professional jargon. We think it can give you the power to make more informed decisions for your heating and cooling needs. Contact us at 907-332-5325 or request service online. We are here for you.