Everything You Should Know About Air Conditioning
Last modified: 2018/10/05 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
We’re still a few weeks (months) away from summer, but it’s never too early to start thinking about that warm weather and its effect on your home. During those particularly scorching months, air conditioning is a modern-day lifesaver. Even on the hottest of summer afternoons, it’ll cool you down and bring your energy levels back up.
However, like any electrical system, we need to understand how it functions as well as what to do if it faces any problems. The AC unit will require a little bit of TLC on occasion, so we are here to give you the in’s and out’s as well as the do’s and don’ts of air conditioning!
Here is everything you should know about that at-home air conditioning unit!
How does an Air Conditioner Work?
The air conditioner can be compared to another common at-home appliance, and that is the refrigerator. Where the refrigerator relies on an exterior housing box to insulate its cold box, your air conditioner relies on the walls of your home to keep cold air in and hot air out. Using a straightforward scientific principal called phase conversion, liquid converts to a gas and absorbs heat during the process.
Air conditioners exploit this, forcing chemical compounds, called refrigerants, to evaporate and condense in a system of closed coils. Furthermore, most air conditioners contain fans that circulate warm air over its cold coils. When hot air flows over the coils, the refrigerant absorbs the heat, changing it from liquid to gas. However, to keep the cooling process efficient, the AC unit must convert the refrigerant gas back to a liquid again.
It may sound complicated, but what we can pull away from this is two distinct things happening in the process: the refrigerant is cooling the indoor air, and the gas is being compressed and cooled in order to be converted back to liquid.
Air Conditioner Specifics
source: Pixabay, digitalphotolinds
Now that we’ve determined how an air conditioner works, we need to look at the distinctive parts of the device itself. Not only do air conditioners cool the air inside of your home, they also work to regulate the temperature of the air by way of a thermostat. Furthermore, air conditioners contain a filter that removes airborne particles from the surrounding air. Finally, they function like a dehumidifier, reducing the volume of humid air in a space.
This explains why they often leak or discharge moisture on particularly humid days. There are different types of air conditioners, and each of these has a specific cooling method, though most follow the same basic principals. Different types of air conditioners include: window and split system units, as well as chilled water and cooling tower units, which implement water into the cooling process.
The unit you choose will depend on the available space in your home, as well as how hot rooms get during the summer months. It is recommended that you talk to an air conditioning specialist to determine your needs.
Energy Efficient Cooling Methods
With homeowners becoming more and more environmentally conscious and moving towards green energy solutions, their air conditioning methods are beginning to reflect this. Not only are these units environmentally friendly, but they also save money in the long run due to their energy efficiency.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternative methods on the market, including using solar power, hydronic cooling, geothermal cooling as well as ice-powered air conditioners. To score the details on these green-friendly choices, check out our article on Environmentally Friendly Air Conditioning Options.
Air conditioners are complex; they can’t just work any place, at any time. AC units need the correct conditions to run smoothly. Firstly, they are designed to take on a specific size and space of a home, they are also designed to have a certain amount of refrigerant, often referred to as “charge.” Lastly, they must have the correct amount of airflow across the coils to run properly.
If any of these 3 factors don’t comply, then you may face problems with your unit. If your home produces a lot of heat, due to an unordinary amount of people or other resulting factors, make sure you have a strong air conditioner which can stand up against it.
Additional Air Conditioning Suggestions
source: Pixabay, metsi
Here are some other things to keep in mind when caring for your AC unit. Again, all our advice is unit-dependent, so make sure to get to know yours personally in order to have it functioning at its' utmost potential.
A dirty filter will kill your AC unit, so keep on top of it! Replace filters frequently or make sure to clean them regularly if your unit is the washable type. It is recommended that during warmer months, filters be changed once every 2 months. Further, you can extend the life of your unit by keeping blinds and shades shut on the warmest of days, this way your air conditioner won’t have to work twice as hard to regulate the temperature of your home. It is also suggested that you consider a timed unit, installing a programmable thermostat that lets you set the temperature for when you’re not home.
It is recommended that you don’t shut off your system, and if you need to keep it running while you’re out of the house, make sure it runs at a higher temperature. Another great way to maintain your air conditioning unit’s longevity is to properly insulate your home. Ducts in hot attics need to be wrapped to keep them cool. A correctly insulated home will keep cool air in and warm air out!
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