Air Conditioning Basics – Did You Know?
Today’s air conditioner (AC) is based on a prototype invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier, an engineer from Buffalo, New York. Unlike earlier forms of cooling, Carrier’s model controlled the temperature by removing heat and humidity from the air.
Since the early 20th century, engineers have significantly improved on Carrier’s initial design. Even in the past decade, cooling technology has become much more efficient. For instance, if you replace a 10-year-old air conditioning unit with a new efficiency model, your energy use could go down as much as 50 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Ready to upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment? Call Ballard Natural Gas today. Located in Lynnwood, we’re pleased to install the best home comfort technology available for our Washington neighbors.
The Early Days of Air Conditioning
Did you know “evaporative cooling” is an old form of air conditioning that historians trace back to ancient Egypt and Persia? The process involves leaving out water, snow, or ice and letting it evaporate to cool an indoor area.
How Your AC Works
Air conditioners decrease indoor temperature through the refrigeration process. They circulate refrigerant, a substance that phases between liquid and gas. As this cycle occurs, the refrigerant grabs heat and humidity from the air, converting it to liquid water.
As a result, your home gets cooler and less humid––which leads to more comfort and better indoor air quality (IAQ).
Your AC has four basic components:
- The Evaporator This element sits inside. It is a collection of coils that absorbs heat and humidity from inside your home.
- The Condenser This unit that sits outside your home. It is responsible for releasing the heat that your evaporator collects into the outdoors.
- The Expansion Valve This component facilitates the flow of refrigerants. It can increase or decrease in size, allowing it to expand or convert from gas to liquid.
- Compressor This is a pump that applies pressure to the refrigerant to keep the flow going.
Common AC Mistakes
Here are four common mistakes to avoid when running your AC unit:
Mistake Number One: Leaving Doors or Windows Open
When your AC is running, you should keep your Washington home as airtight as possible. When doors are windows get left open, the cold air escapes, causing your AC to run longer. This leads to high utility bills and a shorter lifespan for your cooling equipment.
Mistake Number Two: Forgetting to Change Your Air Filter
HVAC filters need to be changed at least every 90 days. A clogged filter means your air ducts won’t be able to distribute cool air properly. It can also cause mechanical problems and reduce efficiency.
Mistake Number Three: Skipping Maintenance Inspections
Did you know most HVAC manufacturers require you to keep up with maintenance in order to keep your warranty? There’s a reason for that. Seasonal maintenance visits are important for the following reasons:
- Your HVAC system can achieve peak efficiency
- Your equipment will last longer
- Your HVAC specialist can discover and fix small problems before they turn into expensive repairs