- Pam Greene
It's time to Talk About Your Air Conditioning Unit.
It is a hot and humid summer in Tiffin Ohio. As the outdoor temperature climbs your AC unit stops keeping your home cool. We are here to help! Understanding how your unit keeps your home cool is a great way to trouble shoot common issues and practicing proper maintenance is absolutely vital. Most importantly, being educated on how your AC works will help you know when it is time to call in the experts.
Methods of trying to cool down the interior of a home go as far back as ancient Egypt. Early Egyptians would suspend soaked reeds across doorways and use trickles of water to help cool the air. The evaporation process would cool the interior of their homes while adding humidity which was needed in the local desert climate.
In the late 1700's Benjamin Franklin would attempt to use evaporation with alcohol and ether to drive down ambient room temperature. These attempts were followed by several brilliant inventors that attempted and failed to find true success at air conditioning homes and buildings.
It wasn't until 1902 that the first modern air conditioner was created by Willis Carrier. Mr. Carrier invented the modern electrical air conditioner to control heat and humidity inside the printing facility of Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, New York. The air conditioning did more than just improve work environment, it also helped with ink and paper at the factory as well. Air conditioning was a hit, before long Carrier's design would take off and demand shot through the roof. Other factories wanted air conditioning to improve work environments. In 1915 "The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America" was created to meet growing demands. The expansion did not stop with factories. In 1914 the first air conditioned home was built in Minneapolis. By 1933 the first home with central air was being built with hidden duct work to air condition the entire home. In just over 30 years an entire industry had been born. Now that you know the history of modern air conditioning, it is time to learn a little about how your central A/C actually works!
Your AC unit helps to control your home's humidity, air quality and air temperature. This is done by removing the hot and humid air in the home and replacing it with cooler air with less humidity. Ever notice that when you are in a basement that you may still sweat even though it feels cooler? That is because the humidity is still high. Your air conditioning unit works to remove hot air AND humidity. Seems simple, right? Well, not exactly.
In a split central air system the following process occurs "The compressor condenses and circulates the refrigerant through the outdoor unit, changing it from a gas to a liquid. The liquid is then forced through the indoor evaporator coil or cooling compartment. The indoor unit’s fan circulates the inside air to pass across the evaporator fins. The evaporator’s metal fins exchange the thermal energy with the air around it. There, the refrigerant turns from liquid into vapor, removing any heat from the surrounding air. As the heat is removed from the air, the air is cooled and blown back into the house. From that point, the condenser or outdoor unit then turns the refrigerant vapor back into a liquid, removing any heat. By the time the fluid leaves the evaporator again, it is a cool, low-pressure gas, eventually returning to the condenser to begin its trip all over again. This process continues again and again until your home reaches the cooling temperature you want, as programmed and sensed by your thermostat setting." (source)
While it seems complicated there are simple steps you can take as a consumer to keep this process flowing without a hitch.
1. Change your filter. It seems like something small, but really it is a vital few minutes spent every month that could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
2. Have your unit cleaned and serviced yearly. Before you turn your central air on give us a call. Regular maintenance extends the life of your unit and can prevent costly damage by running your central air with a dirty or clogged system.
3. Make cost effective choices to lower your systems work load.
How can you do this?
Insulation. Having your home properly insulated will dramatically lower utility costs and lower your central air unit's workload. (you can find insulation products HERE.)
Check for window leaks. A leaky window will send your air conditioning right back outside while letting the hot humid air seep right back into your home. (check out these new windows HERE as well tips for window repair HERE)
Close your curtains during the heat of the day, especially on the sun side of your home. Glass and sunlight create heat and with the sun beaming through your glass windows you may be unwittingly heating up your home and making your central air unit work harder to cool it. (Find tips on keeping your home cooler HERE)
Raise the temperature on your thermostat. We know, it sounds crazy, but by raising your thermostat temperature by just 3 degrees you can save money and add years to your unit's lifespan. (Find information on energy saving tips HERE)
Greene's plumbing, Heating and Electrical specializes in servicing A/C units across the board. Our company is State licensed/insured and our technicians have training as well as experience working on brands such as: Trane, Lennox, Amana, Carrier, Ruud, Bosch, Armstrong Air, Rheem, Goodman, Bryant and many more!
Considering central air installation? We are here to help! Central air increases you home's value and makes your home more marketable for resale purposes. More importantly, having central air makes your home more comfortable for you to live in.