The predictions are for a hot summer this year, so if you don’t already have air conditioning, you might want to look into it. Air conditioning is a system that will keep the air in your home at a constant temperature. Homes with AC are more comfortable in the summer months than those without.
But how does an air conditioning system work, and where do you start if you want to have one installed? Let’s begin with an explanation of what an air condition system consists of and how it does its job.
How Air Conditioning Works
If you visit Air Pro Heating, Air & Electric, they have a lot of information on the detailed operation of an air conditioning system. Before we explain how it works, we want to list the main components, so here they are:
- Expansion Valve
We will explain the role each of these plays in the process in a moment. Now, it is important to know that air conditioning works according to one of the fixed rules of physics. This is known as ‘phase conversion.’ Phase conversion is when a liquid evaporates to become a gas. When this happens, it absorbs heat as part of the natural process. An air conditioning unit forces phase conversion to occur repeatedly. It does this by way of refrigerants. Also within the unit are a system of coils. These play a large part in the cooling process. Next, we want to give you a step by step talk through of the process, so let’s start. The air conditioning unit will usually be located outside the building. It will connect through the wall by a pipe and often to a series of ducts throughout the home.
The first stage involves the unit sucking out the warm air from the room. There is a filter between the unit and the room to avoid any debris. Once into the unit, the air passes over the coils. Inside the coils is a refrigerant. At this point, we should explain that there are strict regulations about which refrigerants can be used. Many older systems use substances that are no longer permitted as they damage the environment. These must be replaced with newer units using safer fluids. As the warm air passes over the coils, it is cooled. The refrigerant, on the other hand, gets warmer. Once the air is cooled, it is blown back into the room by a large fan. This process is then repeated.
The refrigerant now being warm has to be cooled down for the next cycle. This is done by pushing it through the compressor and cooling it in the condenser unit. The cycle is complete and starts again. The above is, of course, a very basic illustration of the process at hand, but it should give you a good idea of how your air conditioning system will do its job. Now, from the above, you will also have gathered that this is a unit that is worked very hard to keep you cool and comfortable. It is in action almost constantly. A quality unit will last a long time – with appropriate maintenance – but faults do occur. Let’s talk about some of the tell-tale signs your unit is not working properly.
When You Notice Problems with Your Air Conditioning
An air conditioning unit has a number of moving parts and other components that will need repairs and replacement over the years. How do you tell when your unit is not doing the job properly? Here are the most often seen signs of a failing or damaged air conditioning unit:
- The temperature in the room is not as cool as the unit is set to manage.
- The unit begins making unusual noises.
- You notice fluid leaking from the unit.
- The unit shuts down and won’t restart.
Each of the above represents a problem that requires the services of an engineer. Of course, here we are talking about getting air conditioning installed, so you should expect a few years of faultless operation before any of these problems occur. Furthermore, you should take out a maintenance contract for your air conditioning unit that will keep it serviced in top condition throughout. Let’s talk about why this is essential.
Why Regular Maintenance is Essential
An air conditioning unit that has had regular maintenance over the years will always last longer than one that is neglected. Many of the parts in the unit can deteriorate over time. The condenser, for example, is a hard-working component that has a limited lifespan. The coils and evaporator are also finite in terms of their length of usefulness, so they will need replacing in time. Various seals throughout the unit can also decay and fail – the leaking problem is often seal-related – and there are many other parts that will require replacing. If you have an engineer attend and service the machine – annually is usually the best advice – they will replace seals as a matter of routine, and also any parts that are past their best. Replacement is preferable to repair as these parts may be considered worn and not be as efficient as they should be. When you choose a company to install your air conditioning, ask them not only about the warranty on your unit but also about their maintenance contract and what they can arrange for you. You will find this a worthwhile expense and not a great one. Otherwise, replacing an air conditioning unit can be surprisingly expensive. Let’s finish with a quick recap.
If you are thinking of getting an air conditioning unit installed in your home, now is the time to do it. We hope we have explained the process sufficiently so as to help you understand what goes on without confusing you, and we recommend you talk to the people we gave the link to, as well as some other local installers. Get your quotes, compare them, and don’t forget to include a maintenance schedule in the comparison.