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5 Facts You May Not Have Known About Your Air Conditioner

air-conditioner-evaporator-coilYou probably don’t know much about the central air conditioner in your home except that it cools you down on hot Florida summer days. You may know it works similar to a refrigerator, moving refrigerant between two sets of coils, and that it uses a compressor to run. But unless you work in the HVAC industry or are enthusiastic about the science of refrigeration systems, this is probably where your knowledge stops.

And that’s fine! It’s why you have HVAC professionals like us around when you need AC repair in New Port Richey, FL or any other air conditioning service. Only technicians with special training and tools should handle fixing or installing a central air conditioner. You can trust any job to us.

But we thought it would be fun to share some facts about your air conditioner you may not have known. These facts won’t allow you to do any DIY work on the AC, but they will help you understand how the system works.

ONE: Air conditioners don’t use up refrigerant

Refrigerant isn’t a type of fuel! Your AC consumes electricity to run, not refrigerant. Refrigerant is a heat transfer fluid that allows the air conditioner to move heat from inside the house to outside. The refrigerant doesn’t dissipate during this process, and the same amount of refrigerant should remain in the system for the life of the AC. (The only way the air conditioner can lose refrigerant is through leaks.)

TWO: An air conditioner never uses ice

This is an important fact to know because if you do see ice forming on the air conditioner, it means something is wrong. Ice only occurs if the evaporator coils aren’t able to absorb sufficient heat to warm up the refrigerant moving through them.

THREE: An AC’s energy efficiency is measured as SEER

If you look at the cabinet of your air conditioner, you’ll see its SEER rating. This tells you how well the system converts electrical power to cooling power. The higher the number, the more efficient the AC. For a cooling system to earn the ENERGY STAR label from the US Department of Energy, it must have a SEER of at least 15. Many units have a SEER of 20 or more.

FOUR: Air conditioners affect humidity

When the evaporator coil in the air conditioner (the indoor coil) removes heat from the air, it also draws out moisture, which condenses along the coil and then drips down into a pan. This means the AC has some dehumidifying properties. However, if humidity is a serious problem in your home, you’ll need a dedicated dehumidifier to deal with it—the AC won’t be enough.

FIVE: Air conditioners have switched to a different type of refrigerant

For decades, the refrigerant in residential air conditioners was a chemical blend known as R-22. Because R-22 causes ozone depletion, it has been gradually phased out. Current air conditioners use R-410A refrigerant (a.k.a. “Puron”). As of next year, all use of R-22 will be phased out and older air conditioners that still use it won’t be able to be repaired.

Need air conditioning service this spring or summer? Balanced Air, Inc. has served the Tampa Bay Area Since 1988.

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