Air Conditioner Basics
Air conditioners are a necessity for many homes. But deciding what size and type of unit is right for your home can be confusing.
The good news is that choosing the right AC can save you money and energy. The right AC can also reduce allergies and other health-related issues like mold spores and dust particles.
The evaporator is the coil in which your air conditioner creates cool, refreshing air for your home. It does this by absorbing heat from your home’s warm, indoor air.
Your air conditioning system’s thermostat monitors your home’s indoor temperature and sends signals to the components inside your home when it’s time to start cooling. A fan from your indoor unit pulls warm, conditioned air into return air ducts. It passes through filters where dust, lint and other debris are collected. Then the filtered air is blown over your air conditioner’s cold evaporator coil.
When your air blows over the evaporator coil, it transfers its heat to the refrigerant. The cold evaporator coil is designed to absorb this heat, and it does so by changing from liquid to a gas. This change in state consumes heat from the air, cooling it and creating a comfortable indoor environment.
There are two types of evaporator coils – flooded and dry. The flooded type is used in indirect systems and food refrigeration processes. The evaporator must be cooler than the medium to transfer heat from it, and this is achieved with a constant flow of low pressure liquid refrigerant.
The dry evaporator has a short section (lavender) which Air conditioner boils part of the liquid refrigerant to reduce its temperature from a warm liquid to a cold liquid – this is known as flashing. This removes sensible BTUs from the liquid and drops the temperature of the liquid to below its dew point. This prevents moisture from collecting on the evaporator and helps to improve evaporator efficiency and performance.
When functioning properly alongside the evaporator and compressor, the condenser enables your air conditioner to cool your building to your exact specifications. It does so by rejecting superheated refrigerant gas and converting it back into liquid form, which then goes on to perform its work.
The condenser is located in the outdoor unit of your AC system, and it looks a bit like an engine radiator. The large fan inside moves outside air across the coils, which removes heat from the refrigerant through a process known as heat transfer. The heat is blown away from the coils through a pipe leading to the outdoors, while the refrigerant changes back into a liquid state.
Your condenser has a series of coils, each made out of copper. When it receives the hot, high-pressure refrigerant gas from the compressor, a condenser coil will reject the heat with the same process as the evaporator. The condenser then lowers the refrigerant’s temperature to convert it back into its liquid state, which is then sent back indoors for its next cycle of cooling.
The condenser is subject to a lot of wear and tear, so it can break down or malfunction on occasion. In many cases, these issues are a sign of a bigger problem, such as a compressor issue or a refrigerant leak. Regular inspection Air conditioner distributor and maintenance of your air conditioning system can help prevent these issues from occurring. Inspecting for signs of leaking refrigerant, ensuring that the refrigerant lines are properly connected and sealed, and keeping the area around the condenser clear of obstructions is a good place to start.
The compressor is the heart of an air conditioning system. It moves and powers the other parts that remove heat from your home, and without it, your cooling system will not work. The compressor converts power into energy that changes refrigerant from cool, low-pressure liquid to hot, high-pressure gas. It is also responsible for changing the temperature of the refrigerant back to a liquid form and moving it between your indoor and outdoor units.
The compressed air from the compressor travels into the primary oil separator, where it combines with the oil to form a mist. The oil particles are then separated from the air by centrifugal force. The air is then re-combined with the refrigerant, which is now in a liquid state and moves towards the evaporator coils. The compressor raises the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant, causing it to cause evaporation in the evaporator coil and cool the air in your home.
The compressor is powered by a motor that connects to the crankshaft. Some models use belts, while others are direct-drive systems. The compressor can be rated in either Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM) or Actual Cubic Feet per Minute (ACFM). Regardless of which model you have, it is important to schedule regular maintenance to ensure that the lubricant levels remain where they should be and that the compression chamber is operating correctly.
A fan moves air, which makes people feel cooler by causing the evaporation of skin moisture (sweat). The process of evaporation absorbs heat from its surroundings. Fans also help dehumidify indoor air. The fan setting on your thermostat allows you to choose whether the blower is on automatically or on continuously. Keeping it on AUTO reduces energy use by only running the fan when your system is heating or cooling. It turns off once your thermostat reaches the desired temperature.
On the other hand, leaving it on continuously allows humidity to build up in your home. Your air conditioner will work harder to remove extra moisture from the air. The result is your energy bills may increase significantly, and you could experience mold growth and other problems.
Some ACs have a special mode called “Dry Mode” that allows the fan to run continually, even when the system isn’t cooling. This mode helps reduce moisture in the air and can prevent ice from forming on the evaporator coils.
If you live in a small space and want to combine an air conditioner with a fan, consider this portable unit from Honeywell. It’s easy to set up and works as a fan, humidifier, and AC in one compact package. Plus, it’s light and quiet. Its water tank is lighted so you can keep track of the level.