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Terminology - FAU, FCU, Furnace, AHU, MAU, etc


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What is the real difference in these: #1 in construction #2 in use

FAU forced air unit

FCU Fan coil unit

Furnace, Fan coil unit with gas heat

AHU Air Handling Unit

MAU Makeup Air Unit

I have my own thoughts - but I want to make sure they are correct.

Thank you gentlemen.

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It's a gas furnace, it's an electric furnace, it's a heat pump. That's about as far as my report goes. Technical terms get my clients looking at me with a dazed look in their eyes.

You'd probably get a better response if you shared your thoughts first.

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I am just trying to get this right so that I now myself - 100%.

As far as I can tell, if it is residential in size or look, and has a

Fan with heat only, it can be a FAU or Furnace

Fan with heat and cooling coil = FAU, Furnace, or I prefer "fan coil with gas (or electric) heat"

fan with or without heat or cooling but 100% outside air = MAU

Unit that doesn't look like a furnace (commercial) with fan (with or without heat and cooling coils) = AHU

I see fannie and freddie using the term FAU (Forced Air Unit) which I had never heard before last year...

I am just trying to learn the correct terminology myself. Being from the south, I called cooling towers, water towers for years - only to get called out as an idiot later when I went up north (for good reason) where they have actual water towers on roofs.

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They are all terms that 99% of your customers won't understand if you put them in a report. I'd avoid them like the plague and use terms that they'll understand.

I'm in the other school - call it what it is. Most professionals I know of use the terms of their trade - doctors, lawyers, engineers etc.

By referring to bus bars, evaporator coils, rake boards etc you're being exact about what you're referring to. The client does not need to fully understand the terminology, he just needs a report that says something needs attention and also points the contractor to what it is.

On the times when a contractor calls me for clarification it's always due to his not having a copy of the report or he has an attorney's letter that did not say what my report said. I've also had contractors call asking what my report meant - in those situations I call the client and tell him that the wrong guy is making the repair.

Having a specifically referenced report keeps me out of trouble - watering down the terms doesn't work for me. During the inspection I explain things to clients and tell them why I write what I do - they always seem to appreciate that. Someone else's mileage may vary.

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