Understanding the Anatomy of Your Air Conditioner

To maintain your Angleton, Texas, home’s air conditioner, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with its anatomy. By taking some time to understand how your air conditioner operates, you can keep your system functioning properly for your home.

Basic Operations of a Central Air Conditioning System

A central air conditioning system may use parts of a home’s furnace or if you use a heat pump, one unit does both heating and cooling. Inside your air conditioner, a chemical called refrigerant travels through a loop of coils and pipes. When the refrigerant expands, it changes from a liquid to a gas. This expansion from liquid to gas lowers the temperature of the refrigerant significantly. The cold gas in the coil absorbs heat from the air, while the compressor literally squeezes the refrigerant back into its liquid form.

Main Components of an Air Conditioner

Every air conditioner has two main parts: a cooling compartment and a condensing unit. The cooling compartment contains a cold coil and a blower or fan. The fan draws warm air into the unit and blows cooled air into the house. The condensing unit houses the compressor, a condenser coil that disperses heat, and a fan that blows hot air outside the house. In a central air conditioning system, you’ll find the cold coil in the air-handling compartment of your furnace, while the condenser is outside the house.

Dirty coils can impede heat exchange. When your air conditioner can’t exchange heat properly, you’ll not only deal with reduced cooling and perhaps a shortened lifespan of your unit, but you may also be faced with increases in your home’s energy bills.

Likewise, the filters that clean the air as it travels through your air conditioning system can become clogged with dust and debris as well, causing your air conditioner to operate less efficiently than it should.

What Is BTU?

For any home air conditioner to operate properly, it needs to have the correct capacity for your home living space, which is measured in British thermal units (Btus) per hour. For an approximate guide to the capacity of the air conditioner you should be using in your home, calculate the volume of each room you need to cool.

To make this calculation, take the length times width times height of the room, then allow between 3 to 5 Btus per cubic foot. Our Davis Air Conditioning & Heating technicians adjust this calculation based on the number and type of windows you have, the exposure of your home, how much shade your rooms receive, and how well your home is insulated, to complete a load calculation.

Maintaining Your Central Air Conditioner

A central air conditioning system is a more complex system than a window air conditioner unit. It’s a good idea to have one of our HVAC service specialists check your system once a year at minimum, especially if you believe your air conditioner isn’t cooling as well as it used to.

While you shouldn’t attempt to service your air conditioner when you discover an operating problem with the unit, you can take some simple steps to help your air conditioner function more efficiently.

Clear tall grass, weeds, leaves, and other debris from around the outside of the condenser unit so that air can flow freely around the unit. Remove debris from around the base of the condenser to allow rainwater to drain away from the unit.

Inside the house, check your air conditioner’s condensation tray. Clean it with a weak bleach solution to kill any potential harmful biological growth in the tray. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or you are concerned about your home’s indoor air quality, consider replacing your system’s standard fiberglass filter with one that removes particulates, such as dust, pollen, plant spores, and smoke, from the air, if the manufacturer recommends other types of filters.

When you need reliable air conditioning repair or maintenance services, turn to the Davis Air Conditioning & Heating team. To schedule an appointment, call us at 888-710-5530 (greater Houston area) or 888-929-0049 (Brazoria County).

Image provided by Shutterstock

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