A typical home is comprised of many different systems. From circuits running electricity throughout the various rooms in your home to your centralized air conditioning system that keeps your home cool for your family, it may seem difficult to understand them all. One system that you do want to put effort into understanding is your home air conditioning system. By better understanding how your system works, you can be more proactive when it comes to repairing issues.
A Heat Transfer System
While it’s called a home air conditioning system, it’s easiest to refer to this type of system as a heat transfer system. When you desire cold air for your home, your air conditioning system gathers up the air inside of your home. It transfers the heat from the air to a substance called refrigerant and pipes that substance outside. The heat is then dispersed outside. The whole concept behind an air conditioning system is that it simply takes heat out of your air so that it feels colder.
Setting Your Thermostat
Every air conditioning system is run by a thermostat. The thermostat has two main jobs. The first job is that it reads the ambient temperature of a home. Second, it tells the other air conditioning components when they need to turn on and off based on what the desired temperature is and what the actual temperature of the home is.
For example, if you set your thermostat to 78 degrees and the ambient temperature of your home is 82 degrees, your thermostat will signal to the rest of the air conditioning components to turn on. They will continue to run until the thermostat reads its 78 degrees and signals to the system to shut off.
Gathering Up Your Inside Air
When your thermostat signals that it’s time for the rest of your conditioning components to turn on, the air handler starts the process. This is a unit that pulls air in through the return ductwork. As the air is pulled in, it goes through the air filter and potential air purifier unit to remove impurities and harmful pollutants. While air purifiers don’t come standard on many centralized air conditioning units, they can be installed to enhance indoor air quality.
The amount of air filtering that you experience will highly depend on the type of air filter that you have installed in your system. For example, having a HEPA air filter installed will remove 99.97 percent of all airborne pollutants. However, having a simple fiberglass filter installed won’t provide the same level of pollutant removal.
Heating Up the Refrigerant
After the air passes through the filter and purifier, it will be pulled over the evaporator coils. Inside the evaporator coils is a liquid substance known as refrigerant. The heat that is in the indoor air that passes over the evaporator coils is transferred to the refrigerant. This causes the refrigerant to turn from a liquid form to a gas form.
As the air continues past the evaporator coil, it becomes cooled down. This air is then forced back into the rooms of your home via the supply ductwork. The refrigerant, on the other hand, is transferred to the outdoor compressor unit via copper tubing. During this process, some of the humidity that is in the air drops out onto the evaporator coil. The removal of this moisture in the air helps to make the air feel much colder.
Cooling the Refrigerant
As the refrigerant makes its way down the copper tubing to your outdoor compressor unit, it meets up with the condenser coil. As the refrigerant runs through this condenser coil, there is a fan that forces fresh air through the compressor unit. As the air passes over the condenser coils, the heat bonds with the fresh air. This heated air is delivered back to the outdoors, which allows the heat to disperse.
The refrigerant inside of the condenser coil loses its heat and turns back into liquid form. This is the end of the heat transfer process from the inside of your home to the outside of your home. Now, the refrigerant starts to make its way back inside of your home via copper tubing.
It runs into an expansion valve that has two main jobs. First, it changes the pressure of the refrigerant so that it can accept heat again to rerun throughout the system. Second, it regulates how much refrigerant can go into the evaporator coil at a time. As the refrigerant enters the evaporator coil, the heat exchange process starts all over again.
Assessing Different AC Systems
The example that we went over above about how air conditioning works is a description of a split system air conditioner. This is the most common type of air conditioning system that homeowners have. There are two other types of air conditioning systems that homeowners should be aware of as they can be used as alternatives to the traditional split system air conditioner.
The packaged air conditioning system is very similar to the split system air conditioner. However, it actually houses all the components that the split system would have both inside and outside in one unit. This one unit is typically placed outside and is recommended for homes that do not have enough interior space for any AC components. It uses the same air conditioning process, with the addition of the hot air from inside being piped to the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit has both the evaporator coil and the condenser coil.
Another alternative type of air conditioning system is a ductless system. This system is comprised of wall-mounted units that are connected to an outdoor compressor unit via copper tubing. The ductless system is recommended for homes that do not have existing ductwork and for any home additions where connecting to the existing ductwork is impossible.
Money Saving Tips for Home Cooling
While your centralized air conditioning system is going to create the majority of the coolness inside of your home during the hot summer months, it does consume a good bit of energy to run. This translates to a high energy bill during the summer months. Fortunately, there are many tips that you can follow to help keep your home cool without having to constantly run your air conditioning system.
One of the most energy-efficient tips is to run ceiling fans while you’re at home. Having a ceiling fan in the kitchen, bedrooms, and even the living room can provide a substantial difference in how your family feels while they’re at home. Simply having a ceiling fan on and pointing it down towards you can help you to feel between two and eight degrees colder than the room temperature actually is. That’s a lot of cooling power without having to constantly run your home air conditioning system to get it down to your desired comfort level.
On overly humid days, it can be difficult for your home air conditioning system to keep up with your comfort. This is due to the fact that humidity can make your body feel up to 10 degrees warmer than it actually is in the environment that you’re in. To help combat this, using a home dehumidifier can remove that excess moisture in the air. This can make you feel cooler and more comfortable with a higher home temperature.
Reliable AC Service
Southland Heating & Air Conditioning provides reliable air conditioner services for the entire Newbury Park area. We also offer heating services and indoor air quality assessment. Give us a call today, and we’ll get a technician on the way.