Residential Air Conditioning
The burning sun soars high in the summer sky, and not a breath of air stirs the humid atmosphere. The children have stopped playing in the afternoon heat. The dog pants miserably. Grandma has left the oven-like indoors to cling to the shade of the porch, fanning herself with a cardboard fan from the local mercantile. Grandpa mops his face with an oversized handkerchief, and everyone tries to endure until Fall. Such was the height of summer before the luxury of modern cooling systems became the norm in most homes.
Years before early twentieth century endeavors by Willis Carrier, whose 'air conditioning apparatus' began to set modern industry standards, an early version of a motorized air conditioner was contrived in the 1850's by Dr. Jon Gorrie, a physician in Florida whose study of tropical diseases led him to believe that a cooler climate could prevent malaria. Even ancient history records attempts at cooling the indoor environment. As early as 400 B.C., the Persians were employing a form of refrigeration through the use of conical-shaped ice houses that stored ice harvested from near-by mountains.
Nowadays, as summer swelters on outside, we can gratefully retreat into the cool comfort of our homes while the A/C hums merrily along, conditioning our indoor atmosphere into a pleasant oasis. Most days we take for granted this wonderful, modern innovation of the past century. We probably enjoy it without giving it much thought, until it breaks down; then we are scurrying to the phone begging our friendly neighborhood HVAC pro's for immediate relief.
HOW IT WORKS
The modern home air conditioner works by removing heat and humidity from the air inside your home. The air is moved over an evaporator coil, which is basically a set of chilled pipes. The coil is filled with a cooling agent that transforms from a liquid to a gas as it collects heat. The cooling agent (Freon) moves from the evaporator coil to the condenser coil (the part of your a/c system that sits outside the house) where it releases the heat it has collected. Then the Freon condenses back into a liquid as it cools, sort of the same way shower steam in the bathroom fogs up the mirror; it condenses back into tiny droplets of liquid as it comes into contact with the surface of the cool glass. The compressor pumps the Freon between the evaporator coil and the condenser, keeping it all evaporating and compressing in the proper coil.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Air conditioners are complicated systems that depend on a number of factors in order to work properly; things such as the amount of 'charge' (Freon), air flow, the amount of 'load' they are designed to carry, etc. If any one of these goes out of kilter, you will encounter problems. If additional heat is added to the indoor environment from appliances, changes to the home (added windows, etc), or even more body heat from a large group of people, your air conditioning system might not be able to keep up with the demand.
Another important factor in maintaining the health of your conditioning system, which unfortunately is a pet peeve to many homeowners, is changing the filter. The filter removes tiny debris particles, such as dust, hair, and pollen, from the air to keep your air conditioner (and also the air you are breathing inside the home) clean. The filter continually becomes filled with more and more of this debris, which means it then begins to restrict the air flow through the unit. This, in turn, causes the unit to work harder to move the air through itself and your home.
If the filter is clogged, your system will not be up to optimum performance. If the filter becomes overly full, it will eventually become a source of air pollution to your home. If you remove the filter and do not replace it, the system will eventually become choked with debris, and it will die. And it will be guaranteed to choke and die on the hottest days of the year, when your system is required to work the hardest. Please note: Changing the filter on a regular basis is a necessity for the well-maintained longevity of your air conditioning system.
It is recommended to have your air conditioning and heating systems cleaned and checked professionally at the beginning of each season to keep them in good working order. Keeping the coils clean, maintaining the proper charge, and facilitating airflow to the units inside and outside the home will go a long way toward increasing the efficiency of your system. Insulation of your home, sealing drafts around windows, drawing the shades on windows facing the sun, turning off lights and unused appliances (including the TV), and using heat-producing appliances at ‘cooler' times of the day are all ways to reduce the demand placed on your cooling system as well as the amount of energy needed to cool your home.
KEEPING YOUR DUCTS IN A ROW
The condition of your duct work plays a significant role in the heating and cooling of your home. If your system is fully functioning but still not cooling as you believe it should, you may need to check for leaks in your duct system. If your duct work passes through uncooled areas such as underneath the home, or through the garage or attic, it should be well insulated with a product specifically manufactured for this purpose, to maintain air temperature inside the ducts.
What may seem a counterpoint to 'tightening up' the home to make it more energy efficient is the fact that the home still requires adequate ventilation. Pollution-free indoor air is essential in keeping all your home's inhabitants healthy and comfortable. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) recommends that your home's ventilation sytem be able to provide a complete air exchange inside the home once every four hours. Most well-built newer homes require mechanical ventilation to meet the minimum requirements.
KEEP YOUR COOL
Today's modern cooling systems provide quiet, reliable comfort like never before. Dual stage compressors run at energy-saving capacity the majority of time. Operating at lower speeds for longer periods helps to remove more unwanted moisture (humidity) from the air to keep your family feeling cooler. Less humidity inside your home will allow you to keep your thermostat at a higher setting, reducing energy usage, while still maintaining comfort. On the hottest days, these modern compressors will shift stages to continue to meet your family's demand for consistent cooling.
Modern cooling units are designed with state-of-the-art materials to provide the longest-lasting performance. They are designed to operate with less noise and more efficiency than ever before. Contact New Systems’ fully licensed, fully insured professional team of HVAC specialists for information on cooling systems available from American Standard and Bryant, both leaders in the heating and cooling industry. We're available by phone at 314-849-7900, or drop us a line here at the website.
Schedule a consultation on how to make your home the most comfortable place to be for you and your family!