Friday, July 3, 2009

The Language of HVAC/R

Many students find the large number of technical terms used in HVAC/R confusing. To the uninitiated, HVAC/R has its own language of technical jargon that can become a barrier to learning. Confusion over terminology can lead to not clearly understanding crucial concepts. This problem is compounded by the use of acronyms and abbreviations that are frequently used when discussing common topics. For example, one major valve manufacturer uses the acronym TEV to represent “thermostatic expansion valve,” while another uses the acronym TXV for the same thing. In Fundamentals of HVAC/R, we keep technospeak to a minimum, preferring to use common, easily understood language whenever possible. Making a relatively simple concept seem highly technical by using an overabundance of jargon does not help students.

Of course, students must still learn the HVAC/R language. Having a solid grasp of the terminology is necessary to make use of essential technical literature produced by equipment manufacturers. To encourage students to learn the language, we always use the complete word or phrase before introducing an acronym. It helps to explain concepts plainly, and then introduce the technical terminology that is used to refer to the concept. The students are more likely to remember the terminology if it is logically connected to something they understand. For example, I have found that students just starting to learn the operation of the refrigeration cycle often can recite the order of components, but they have not made the connection between the component names and what they do. It is much easier to remember “TEV” if you know that “TEV” is an acronym for “thermostatic expansion valve” and you know that the refrigerant expands as it goes through the thermostatic expansion valve.

We have three resources in the back of the text deigned specifically to help students learn the language of HVAC/R: an acronym dictionary, an English language glossary, and a Spanish language glossary. When a student wonders exactly what is meant by a particular acronym or abbreviation, they can find it in Appendix C which lists the definition of common acronyms and abbreviations used in HVAC/R. The acronym dictionary is also very useful when students are reading industry literature and need help with a particular abbreviation or acronym. Students can use either the English language or Spanish language glossary to look up the definition of common HVAC/R terminology. Fundamentals of HVAC/R has a very complete glossary to help students learn the HVAC/R language. It has the largest number of defined terms of any major HVAC/R text and the terms are fully explained, including multiple definitions of the same term.

I sincerely believe that students and instructors alike will find that Fundamentals of HVAC/R is an invaluable aid in learning the language of HVAC/R.

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