Air conditioners use refrigeration to chill indoor air, taking advantage of a remarkable physical law:
When hot air flows over the cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, the refrigerant inside absorbs heat as it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state. To keep cooling efficiently, the air conditioner has to convert the refrigerant gas back to a liquid again. To do that, a compressor puts the gas under high pressure, a process that creates unwanted heat. All the extra heat created by compressing the gas is then evacuated to the outdoors with the help of a second set of coils called condenser coils, and a second fan. As the gas cools, it changes back to a liquid, and the process starts all over again. Think of it as an endless, elegant cycle: liquid refrigerant, phase conversion to a gas/ heat absorption, compression and phase transition back to a liquid again.
It’s easy to see that there are two distinct things going on in an air conditioner. Refrigerant is chilling the indoor air, and the resulting gas is being continually compressed and cooled for conversion back to a liquid again. On the next page, we’ll look at how the different parts of an air conditioner work to make all that possible.
Air Conditioning Parts
Let’s get some housekeeping topics out of the way before we tackle the unique components that make up a standard air conditioner. The biggest job an air conditioner has to do is to cool the indoor air. That’s not all it does, though. Air conditioners monitor and regulate the air temperature via a thermostat. They also have an onboard filter that removes airborne particulates from the circulating air. Air conditioners function as dehumidifiers. Because temperature is a key component of relative humidity, reducing the temperature of a volume of humid air causes it to release a portion of its moisture. That’s why there are drains and moisture-collecting pans near or attached to air conditioners, and why air conditioners discharge water when they operate on humid days.
Still, the major parts of an air conditioner manage refrigerant and move air in two directions: indoors and outside:
- Evaporator – Receives the liquid refrigerant
- Condenser – Facilitates heat transfer
- Expansion valve – regulates refrigerant flow into the evaporator
- Compressor – A pump that pressurizes refrigerant
Is your current air conditioning system cooling your home in danger of extinction? Since 2010, all new air conditioning and heat pump units manufactured in North America have been required to use chlorine-free refrigerants. If you have an air conditioner that is more than a few years old, it is probably using an R-22 Freon refrigerant. This is a coolant that is thought to deplete the ozone layer. All of the major residential HVAC equipment manufacturers now manufacture AC units using the new R-410A refrigerant. R-410A is an environmentally friendly, next-generation refrigerant. Many previously-used refrigerants (including R-22) contain chlorine, a chemical which is considered harmful to the ozone layer.
As the government continues to force the phase-out of R-22 production over the next ten years, prices for R-22 are continue to rise. For homeowners who still use, R-22, they are finding that the costs are are being passed along to them.
There are several benefits of the new R-411A refrigerant:
- R-410A does not contribute to ozone depletion.
- Air conditioning systems that now use R-410A have a higher EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) for increased heat pump efficiency.
- Parts that are compatible with R-410A will be available well into the future, but production of R-22 units ended in 2010. If you are installing a new air conditioner or heat pump, be sure that the new unit uses R-410A refrigerant, as parts for R-22 will become increasingly scarce.
Air Conditioning Equipment
New AC equipment is specially designed for the higher operating pressures of R-410A. That means that your old condenser and system needs to be replaced if you decide to switch from the old R-22 refrigerant.
As old AC systems are phased out and replaced, there is a good chance that there will be a niche market for R-22 parts and repair. In other words, over the years the older systems are going to become harder and more expensive to repair.home owners and business owners buying a new AC system should ask for an air conditioner or heat pump that uses the more efficient and environmentally friendlier R-410A refrigerant. When you buy a system using R-410A, you future-proof your investment and virtually eliminate the possibility that any leaking refrigerant from your system will contribute to ozone layer depletion.many homeowners can improve cooling efficiency without equipment-related changes. For example, rinsing dirt from the condenser fins of the outside unit, changing filters routinely and raising the thermostat when not at home all help save energy and money.
Air Conditioning Size of System
One of the most asked questions when it comes to sizing an Air Conditioning System is “Bigger Better”? First and foremost is “Bigger Is Not Always Better” because of some different parameters which I will cover here.
First of all I recommend that you find out what size (tonnage) you need first, to do some typical sizing based on under air square footage or you can do a Manual J calculation which takes into account a lot more parameters then that. Typically when the size of your Air Conditioning System is based on square footage you can use 450 to 700 Sq Ft per ton as a basic depending on how Green your home is.Basically the more Green (ex-Insulation, Windows, Etc.) which an energy calculation will give you more accurate parameters, this is used in new construction homes or remodels that will give you more square footage per ton. Now there are other things to consider as well, but I always recommend to have someone do a true load calculation for you and that would encompass some average parameters that we typically run into.
The other part of sizing an Air Conditioning System which is a very important part of determining tonnage correctly is your duct work, which is based on 400 CFM per ton (cubic feet per minute) this is very important as well, because it takes into account the static pressure of the Air Conditioning System as it pushes air through the duct work.
Static pressure is nothing more than the amount of pressure pushing against the inside walls of the duct work. This pressure needs to be maintained throughout the ducts as the air is pushed along through the system and these are the things that are important when doing this calculation.
Too much pressure can cause damage to duct work, humidity problems and/or short cycling. Not enough pressure can cause lack of air to specific areas in your home, and also create more hot/cold spots. So as you can see there are a few things to consider when sizing your Air Conditioning System. The other thing to consider is the size of the return, if you do not have enough return it will not supply the air correctly. More often then not there is not enough return for the existing system, never mind going bigger. The rule of thumb here is if you have a direct return it is based on the square inches of the grill divided by 144 (per Ton)
So for example if you had a grill that was 24 X 18 it would go like this: 24 X 18=432 inches divided by 144 = 3 Ton, so in this case that would be big enough for a 3 Ton Unit. If you have a Ducted return (in ceiling or sidewall) then the size would be based on the actual Duct size, Ex:14, 16, 18″ Etc. You would need a Ductulator which your Air Conditioning Contractor has. So you can give us a call and we can help you with your duct work sizing. So as you can see there are a few things to consider when sizing your next Air Conditioning System, whether you do it yourself, or you have someone do it for you these are the basics when looking at whether bigger is better or not.
How to Control Air Conditioning Repair Service Costs?
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Air conditioning repairs have gone very costly but there are a few tricks that can keep them under control. There are a few maintenance tasks which can reduce your air conditioner repair bills by a great extent. These tricks not only trim down the repair costs but also elongate the life span of the unit. Let’s have a look at them.
You can consult your air conditioning repair company, for a seasonal check-up contract. Usually the tune-ups and inspections are done as per the scheduled appointments prior to the arrival of summer and winter. The technicians you hire will prepare the HVAC system at your place according to the upcoming season and increase its efficiency to the fullest. Moreover, if they find any problems with the system, they will repair it immediately and prevent it from developing into a major issue. This way they save you from spending lots of money that would have been needed in case of big repairs. Moreover, sudden breakdowns in the middle of any season can make you face immense discomfort. Such check-up contracts are not very costly, especially when compared to individual visits of the technicians.
More usage of any appliance will obviously decrease its life and make it break down more frequently. So it’s better to turn off the thermostat when it’s not in use. You can make good use of fans and heaters at such times. Just ensure that these additional machines are not left on when there’s no one in the home. Besides, you must change the filters of your system periodically. Clean them at least once a month and clean them every six months so that the airflow remains in flow always.
Cleaning the outside air conditioning condenser of the system helps a lot in keeping them intact for a long time. Remove all the debris, dust and any other sort of obstructive materials from it. When it comes to cleaning outside, clear the dust and debris from the vents. You also need to see that no piece of furniture in front of the system is obstructing the airflow. Sometimes one or more units in the system freeze up and create problems. You can prevent this troublesome situation just by cleaning outdoor PVC pipe properly. You can use a solution of water and bleach mixed equally to prevent the growth of mold and algae.
One more way to save on the repair costs of air conditioning systems is to hire a air conditioning service provider which offers cost effective services. There are thousands of air conditioning repair companies which offer superior quality services at affordable rates. The low cost of their services cause no harm to the quality. Lots of good companies are providing top notch services at attractive prices out of the competition prevailing in the industry. Just select a good company and keep your repair costs under control.
Choosing an Air Conditioning Contractor for Repair, Installations, Service, Maintenance and Repair
Air conditioning installation, like any other kind of home or commercial building repair, upgrade or retrofit, is a job that is best done when it’s done right. An air conditioning installation that is performed skillfully and correctly will ensure that the system works as it’s designed and will last as long as possible with minimal ongoing maintenance costs and no surprise repairs.Read Elite HVAC Contractors Consumers Buying Guide for heating and cooling.
As home and commercial HVAC and cooling systems become more advanced, energy-efficient and cost effective, the demand for air conditioning installation has risen. Because of this, companies other than heating and air conditioning companies are beginning to offer this service as a means of increasing new business. Unfortunately, some of these companies don’t even employ a certified refrigeration mechanic. Instead, customers may end up with a plumber or other type of professional putting in a cooling system.having a plumber or electrician to install an air conditioning or HVAC system would be akin to seeing a veterinarian for an appendectomy. A veterinarian may be very skilled at treating animals and even performing surgeries, but that doesn’t make him the best person to remove an appendix from a human being.
Many consumers assume that a company which advertises air conditioning installation service and repairs must be qualified to do so. This is not necessarily the case, since there are no laws in many areas that govern the types of services a company can perform and what qualifications their technicians must have to provide that service. Did you know prisons teach heating and air conditioning as a trade and is one of the largest labor suppliers in the industry.
While a certified plumber may be a very good one, he has had very different training than a certified refrigeration mechanic. It’s possible that whatever knowledge he does have may not have even come from a certified refrigeration mechanic, but from a fellow plumber. How, then, can a consumer know whether or not he is getting air conditioning installation from a company or technician that is qualified? The only way to know for sure is to ask a let us refer a top HVAC Contractor for your heating and cooling service, maintenance and installation. Get your free quote and estimate now.
Consumers must also be prepared to ask the right questions. Don’t just ask if a company is qualified to install a cooling system. Read more
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