You rely on your home air conditioning system all summer to stay cool — but do you know how it performs its magic act?
Air Conditioning Secrets Revealed
Most people think that their air conditioner just delivers cool air into the home, but it actually does double duty. To keep your home comfortable, the system also needs to pull the heat out of a home. Here’s how it all happens.
Within your A/C system are two coils — an aptly named evaporator coil (located inside your house) and a condenser coil (located outside your house).
Traveling within and between these coils is refrigerant — a chemical that has the ability to change from a liquid to a gas very quickly, transferring heat in the process.
Passing along the indoor evaporator coil, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding indoor air, leaving cooled air behind for redistribution to your house.
Meanwhile, the refrigerant — now a warm gas, thanks to the heat it has drawn from your air — travels to the outdoor unit, where the condenser coil squeezes all the heat out of it, turning it back into a liquid.
The compressor’s fan then pushes the heat it has gathered into the outdoor air, while the cool liquid is recycled and sent back to perform its heat transfer duties once again.
These are just the basic principles. A professional cooling technician should service your home A/C unit every year to make sure it is working properly.
Ready to Make It Disappear?
As the availability of outdated R-22 refrigerant has become more limited, its price has gotten higher. In 2020, R-22 will no longer be manufactured at all! That’s a big — and costly — problem if your old A/C system leaks R-22 refrigerant and you need to add more. If you’re not sure what type of refrigerant your air conditioning system has, please contact us. All the A/C systems we install operate on economical and environmentally friendly R-410 refrigerant. Besides the refrigerant issue, keep in mind that all new air conditioning systems are many times more efficient than models available even a decade ago. Upgrading to a higher-efficiency cooling system can save you a lot of money over the long run — on utility bills and repair costs.
Tricks for Mowing
Every time you mow your lawn, there is a chance you could be affecting the operation of your central air conditioning unit. That’s because grass clippings, dust, pollen and dirt are all stirred up during lawn maintenance. This debris then settles either on or inside your outdoor air conditioning unit, and that can compromise its performance. Take these steps to protect your outdoor A/C unit, which will minimize inefficient operation and help you avoid potential breakdowns:
When mowing the lawn, position the mower in a way that minimizes the amount of debris blown toward the unit.
Shutting off the A/C unit while mowing can help make sure debris is not being drawn to the outdoor condenser.
When you’re finished, rinse the outdoor unit by spraying with a garden hose for just a minute. Dirt, dust, pollen and grass clippings easily rinse away.
Don’t block off your outside air conditioning unit with plants, shrubs or other objects. Make sure there is between 18 and 30 inches of clear space around the unit to allow it to “breathe.” This helps it run more efficiently.
Don’t stack anything on top of the unit either, like garden hoses or landscaping tools and products.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Pulling Back the Curtain on Common A/C Problems
If you detect an air conditioning problem early enough and call us in, you may be able to avoid more costly repairs later on. Stay alert for these problems:
Restricted airflow — Hold your hand up to the vent — do you feel a steady flow of air? If you don’t, you’ll most likely need service (try other vents too — knowing if the problem is in one area or several can help narrow down the cause).
Frequent cycling — If your home cooling system cycles (turns on and off) too often, it can wear out prematurely (frequent cycling is often a sign that the system is too large for the home, but the problem could also be mechanical).
A too-warm house — There can be a number of reasons that your air conditioner is constantly running but the house isn’t cooling, and our technician has to do a fair amount of detective work to determine the real cause.
Noticeably higher bills — If you see your bills creeping higher year after year despite the fact that you use your cooling system about the same amount, the system could be straining to cool the house — and that can eventually lead to a breakdown in the summer heat. A simple tune-up may solve the problem!