How does Air Conditioning Work ?
Air conditioning includes both the cooling and heating of air, which in turn also filters and alters the moisture level of the conditioned air.
An air conditioner is able to cool a building because it removes heat from the indoor air and transfers it outdoors. A chemical refrigerant in the system absorbs the unwanted heat and pumps it through a system of piping to the outside coil. A fan, located in the outside unit, blows outside air over the hot coil, transferring heat from the refrigerant to the outdoor air.
Most air conditioning systems have five mechanical components:
- a compressor
- an expansion valve or refrigerant flow metering device
- an evaporator coil and blower
- a chemical refrigerant
- a temperature controlled on/off switch know as a thermostat
Most residential & small to medium size commercial air conditioning systems are of a split system design. That is, they consist of a “hot” side, or the condensing unit—including the condensing coil, the compressor and the condenser fan—which is situated outside your home, and a “cold” side that is located inside your home. The cold side consists of a refrigerant flow metering device and a cold coil. The cold coil may be inline with your ducted gas heater or mounted on the wall in the area to be cooled.
The evaporator fan blows air through a cold evaporator coil, which absorbs heat from the air. Then this cool air is sent into the area or in the case of a ducted system areas of your home. A window unit operates on the same principal, the only difference being that both the hot side and the cold side are located within the same housing unit.
The compressor (which is controlled by the thermostat) is the “heart” of the system. The compressor acts as the pump, circulating the refrigerant through the system. Its job is to draw in a low-pressure, low-temperature, refrigerant in a gaseous state and by compressing this gas, raise the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant. This high-pressure, high-temperature gas then flows to the condenser coil.
The condenser coil is a series of fined piping with a fan that draws outside air across the coil. As the refrigerant passes through the condenser coils tubes and the outside air passes across the coils fins, the heat from the refrigerant is rejected to the outside air which causes the refrigerant to condense from a gas to a liquid state. The high-pressure, high-temperature liquid then reaches the refrigerant flow metering device.
The refrigerant flow metering device is the “brain” of the system. By sensing the temperature &/or pressure of the evaporator, or cooling coil, it allows liquid refrigerant to pass through a very small orifice, which causes the refrigerant to expand to a low-pressure, low-temperature gas. This “cold” refrigerant flows to the evaporator.
The evaporator coil is a series of fined tubes aided by a fan that blows indoor air across it, causing the coil to absorb heat from the air. The cooled air is then delivered to the areas to be cooled by the evaporator fan.
The refrigerant then flows back to the compressor where the cycle starts over again.
Reducing Air Conditioning running costs
It is hot outside and you know the air conditioners are going to cost you on that next bill, but what else can you do?
There are many options available to you when it comes to cutting your energy bills.
In fact, you may just save money by taking the time now to get the most out of your energy dollar by using effective equipment as well as common sense. Air Conditioners are quite necessary in some areas but they can be affordable if you take the time to save some money down the line.
Here is what you need to do first.
Take the time to find out how efficient your air conditioner is. Have a professional from Dynamic Services come out and check them for leaks, energy use, age and ability to cool the area required. An undersized or inefficient system will run continually trying to achieve the desired temperature. This excessive running really costs you big dollars on your power bills.
Investing money in a good quality air conditioner now will help to save you thousands of dollars over the next few years. Look at energy star rating and high efficiency “inverter” type compressors. Well worth the cost.
Next, take the time to find ways to lessen the bill that the air conditioner uses by lowering your need for the air conditioner to run. For example, in the cooling cycle every degree that you increase your air conditioner thermostat settings will help you to save money. Find the highest setting that you are comfortable with. We suggest 21°C – 23 °C.
Make sure to insure that your windows & doors have a tight fit and remain closed.
Keep doors and windows tightly closed and avoid in and out traffic that is constant.
These are only a few ways to save money on your air conditioners.
You know you are going to have to use the air conditioning once the heat hits, but keeping them at a higher temperature , professionally serviced and allowing them to work only when needed can help you to save money.
Oh, and remember to adjust your air conditioners settings for night time hours when the temperatures outside fall.