Most of us are privy to the luxury of a centralized home air conditioning unit. We know that when we turn the thermostat to our desired temperature, our air conditioning system blows cool air into our home until it reaches that set temperature. However, many people don’t know how their home air conditioning unit creates cold air.
It Starts With Your Ductwork
Throughout each room in your home, there is a series of ductwork, also referred to as venting. Each room will have at least one supply vent and one return vent that is connected to the metal ductwork. Bigger rooms in your home may have more than two vents for your supply and return ducts.
This ductwork runs throughout the walls in your home and ultimately connects with your home air conditioning system. As you turn your home thermostat to the cooling function and set your desired temperature, the thermostat will read the ambient temperature. If the ambient temperature is higher than your desired temperature, it will signal to the air conditioning unit to kick on.
Air Flows Through the Air Handler
When your air conditioning system first kicks on, the air handler draws the warm air from inside of your home into the ductwork. It will pass through the air purifier if you have one. It will then proceed through your air filter. This filter works to remove unwanted airborne particles, like dust and pollen, from the air inside of your home.
Heat Transfers to the Refrigerant
As the air handler directs air into your ductwork, it flows over the evaporator coil. This coil is full of a substance known as refrigerant. When it’s inside the evaporator coil, the refrigerant is in a liquid form. As the hot air passes over it, the heat is absorbed by the liquid refrigerant. This causes the refrigerant to turn into a gas state.
During this process, humidity from the air is extracted. The water drops will fall off of the evaporator coil and into the drain. The now cooled air is directed via the ductwork back into your home. It enters each room through the supply vent at the bottom of the room.
The gas refrigerant makes its way outside via copper piping. Each centralized air conditioning system has an outdoor compressor unit. The job of this unit is to release the heat from the refrigerant out into the outdoors. Your entire centralized home air conditioning system is essentially a big heat transfer system.
The Outdoor Compressor Unit
Your outdoor compressor unit works to pump the gas refrigerant outside. The gas refrigerant runs through another coil known as the condenser coil. At this time, there is an outdoor compressor fan that is blowing air from the outdoors over the condenser coil. As the air blows, it works to remove the heat from the refrigerant gas.
As the heat is removed from the refrigerant gas, it turns back into a liquid state. This liquid refrigerant then makes its way through the return copper piping towards your indoor air conditioning unit. The liquid refrigerant is stopped at an expansion valve.
Here the pressure in the refrigerant is altered to allow it to reabsorb heat from the indoor air. This valve also works to regulate the amount of refrigerant that enters the evaporator coil located inside your indoor air conditioning unit. As the liquid refrigerant enters the evaporator coil, it goes through the heat transfer process all over again. Your centralized home air conditioning system will repeat this process until your ambient indoor temperature reaches your desired setting.
Popular Types of Air Conditioning Units
There are three main types of air conditioning units that you can have installed in your home. These include split systems, packaged systems, and ductless systems. Understanding what each system entails and its advantages can assist you in determining what type of home air conditioning system is right for your home.
The most popular type of air conditioning system that you’ll find in North America is the split system. This is a dual air conditioning and heating system that can be utilized all year round to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. With this type of setup, the air handler for the furnace is utilized to circulate air throughout your home even when your air conditioning system components are working.
The key factor that helps to identify this type of system is that the evaporator coil is placed inside, near the air handler. A split system works to dehumidify the air at the same time it removes the heat from it.
The second type of home air conditioning system is known as a packaged system. Where split system units have both an indoor and outdoor unit, the packaged system only has one unit. This singular air conditioning unit houses both the evaporator and condenser coil.
This packaged unit for this type of system is typically installed outdoors. It utilizes a heat pump to move the indoor air to the outdoor air conditioning unit. A packaged air conditioning system is typically recommended for homes with limited crawlspace and attic space.
The last type of home air conditioning system is the ductless system. This type of system utilizes indoor wall-mounted units that connect to an outdoor compressor unit via copper tubing. Since each air conditioning unit is mounted to the wall of the room it’s intended to cool, there is no need for ductwork. This makes the ductless system ideal for existing homes that have no ductwork and those that need additional cooling in rooms with no venting.
Energy-Efficient Tips for Home Air Conditioning Systems
Having a home air conditioning system installed is a great first step to take. However, optimizing your energy usage is a necessity to ensure that your system is affordable to run all summer long. There are many different methods you can use to optimize your energy usage during the hot summer months.
Start with setting your programmable thermostat. Most newer model home air conditioning units have these. If yours doesn’t, you can also invest in one for a fairly affordable price. The goal is to set your thermostat to a desirable temperature when you’re at home and then increase the temperature when you’re not. This way, your air conditioning system only runs when your family is at home when it’s needed most.
Apart from your centralized home air conditioning system, it’s advisable to use ceiling fans. These ceilings fans help to disperse the cooled air throughout your home. Experts suggest that having a ceiling fan on can help to make you feel between two and eight degrees colder than it actually is inside of your home. This means more bang for your buck when it comes to home cooling.
Fast AC Maintenance
Shines Energy provides fast air conditioning maintenance in Dartmouth. We also offer quality heating and air conditioning installation and repairs. Simply give us a call today to get the assistance of one of our experienced technicians.