Q?How does an air conditioner work?

Air conditioning systems work by moving heat from inside your premises to the outside. In a central air conditioning system, air is drawn into the ductwork system through the return air system. Installed in the return air ductwork is an evaporator coil. This coil is connected to the condenser (the outside unit) by copper tubing the refrigerant lines.

The refrigerant is then pumped from the condenser to the evaporator coil. As the refrigerant passes through the inside of the evaporator coil, warm air from inside your home passes over the outside of the coil. Because the refrigerant is cooler than the warm air, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air. The refrigerant is then sent outside to the condenser unit. When the warmed refrigerant is in the condenser unit it is compressed by the compressor; the compression of the refrigerant causes it to boil. As the refrigerant boils it gives off the heat it picked up from inside your home. The refrigerant is then passed through the coil in the condenser unit where it gets cooled again and is ready to go back inside to pick up more heat from your home.

As this whole process is going on, the temperature and relative humidity in your premises are both lowered. The relative humidity level drops because cooler air cannot hold as much moisture. As the air cools, it gives up some moisture and it gets collected in the base of the evaporator coil and is then drained away.

Q?How long does it take to install an AC unit?

The installation process is comprehensive and the duration varies from one installation to another. Our technician will survey your home and will cover the matter at the consultation visit. In most cases, an installation can be completed in two days, with minimum disruption.

Q?What are the benefits of air conditioning?

The benefits of Air Conditioning are to give a comfortable environment at work or at home throughout the seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

An air conditioning unit can have two functions: heating and cooling. With an auto-changeover switch on most new units, you set the temperature and the unit will cool or heat as required automatically.

Q?What size air conditioner should I get?

To exactly size an A/C unit for a specific area requires a heat load calculation which is a bit complicated and is usually made by a licensed HVAC contractor who is experienced and qualified to make these calculations. A quick and easy rule of thumb to use for sizing an air conditioner for a room or house is the square foot method. This formula is used only for a quick approximate and is based on certain guidelines regarding insulation R values, shading, ceiling height, construction materials, windows, doors, purpose of use and occupancy. In layman’s terms 1 ton of cooling capacity is equal to 12,000BTU of cooling capacity and 600 square feet of residential living space requires 1 ton of cooling capacity based on adequate insulation, 8′ ceiling height and tight windows and doors. To calculate your requirement using this method get the total square footage of living space and divide that number by 600. The answer is the number in tons of air conditioning capacity required. To convert tonnage to BTU’s simply multiply by 12,000. This general rule of thumb method can be used for approximate sizing of both central and room air conditioning equipment.

Q?Why bother with a yearly Preventive Maintenance Service?

A yearly Preventive Maintenance Service on your system is a wise thing to do. Note the words, Preventive Maintenance. When done properly, maintaining your system will save you money on energy bills, but just as importantly, a yearly preventive maintenance will help your system last longer. This is important because heating and air conditioning systems are very expensive. Another benefit is that problems can be discovered before serious damage is done, and they can also be discovered and appropriate measures taken before a complete breakdown in the middle of winter or on a hot, humid day.Dirt is the biggest enemy of electro-mechanical systems. During a Preventive Maintenance, certain parts that can cause trouble when dirty, are cleaned to keep the system running smoothly and efficiently. Some of these parts are, the cooling coil, condensate drain, burners, pilot lights, and most importantly, if needed, the flue. The flue is that part that conveys poisonous combustion by-products (gases) out the chimney. Dirt is the biggest enemy of your air conditioner! Giving your air conditioning system a good electrostatic air filter is the best thing you can do for your air conditioner. A good air filter will extend the life of your air conditioner because the important parts, like the blower assembly, the cooling coil, and other inner parts will stay cleaner, operate more efficiently and last longer. And, as a side benefit of having a good air filter, your family and you will enjoy breathing much healthier indoor air. Air that will be free of dustmites, mold, mildew, dust, pet dander, etc.

Q?The system is running but the air is not very cold, what’s wrong?

If some cooling is taking place but not enough, then the chances are that the system is low on freon. The only reason a system would need freon is because the freon leaked out. If the leak is not sealed before recharging with freon, the freon will eventually leak out again. Leak repairs are expensive so if it’s a small leak it may be more cost effective to recharge the system every two or three years. Freon recharging is not a do-it-yourself job. As per federal law (EPA), only people certified to handle refrigerant (freon) are allowed to recharge an air conditioning system.

Q?There’s water spilling out of my inside unit, what can I do about this?

If you do not see ice build-up on the larger copper tubing (covered with a black, spongee insulation)when you run your system, then you probably have a clogged drain line. A clogged drain line is usually caused by algae build-up inside the drain line. And yes, there is something you can do to prevent this condition. Algae is a living plant and will grow in your drain line until it clogs the line. The air handler provides a cool, damp environment for development of molds and mildew and if left untreated these growths can spread into your ductwork. If only moderate to light buildup is present then there are chemical disinfectants specifically designed for use in air handlers that will kill the existing mold and mildew and control new growth. These disinfectants are safe and very effective and are applied by simply spraying into the filter intake and by placing “Algae Strips” directly in the drain pan. If the coil has mold or mildew present then it also should be treated. Make sure that the face of the cooling or evaporator coil is clean so that air can pass through freely.

Q?Which manufacturer makes the best air conditioner?

Air conditioning is a matured technology so popular brands such as TRANE, AMERICAN STANDARD, RHEEM and LENNOX would be your best bet. Most other brands use parts made by the same manufacturers. The main considerations then would be the price, warranty, attractiveness, noise, etc. Some manufacturers offer a 5 year warranty on all parts while others offer only 1 year. Some offer 10 years on the compressor while some offer only 5 years. Some units are straight out ugly and will be of no compliment to your landscaping. Whatever you decide. You may buy the best system in the world but if it is not properly installed, you will actually be buying nothing but a big headache for years to come.

Q?What is SEER?

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of central air conditioning units governed by U.S. law and regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Every air conditioning unit is assigned an efficiency rating known as its SEER, which is defined as the total cooling output (in British thermal units or Btu) provided by the unit during its normal annual usage period divided by its total energy input (in watt-hours) during the same period.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the incremental cost of a SEER 13 unit relative to today’s minimum standard SEER 10 unit will be about $171. With typical household savings of $48 per year based on current national average electricity prices, the higher standard pays for itself in about 3.5 years. Central air conditioners last about 18 years.