Air filters are vital components of AC and heating systems. However, they also happen to be often-neglected ones. They are your first line of defense against airborne impurities that can cause various respiratory ailments. Additionally, clogged filters are also common culprits of HVAC system failures.
Before the 1900s, mechanical fans were considered as the most sophisticated and preferred cooling device. They were used in various applications from residential cooling to commercial processes. They are still widely used today albeit they no longer occupy the dominant position in most people’s minds. Fans are cheap and they get the job done without consuming an enormous amount of energy. The operational cost of a typical unit running 12 hours a day is no more than $5 per month. It simply makes sense for a household that is trying to keep its expenses under control.
The invention of air conditioners started a large shift towards this new technology. Everyone who experienced the cooling effect of A/C systems could feel that this was far superior to anything that was ever offered before. Electricity was also cheaper back in the day so they did not have to worry much about energy consumption. Nowadays, people don’t have the luxury of taking energy for granted both due to environmental and financial factors. An air conditioner that runs 12 hours a day will set a household back around $150 per month. That is a lot of money that could have been used for other essential needs.
Many have suggested implementing a dual approach to cooling. This involves the use of both a fan and an air conditioner. It may seem counterintuitive but this strategy does work. Fans improve air circulation and provide a evaporative effect on the skin similar to wind chill. They don’t lower the room temperature per se but they make people feel as if it was colder. This allows occupants to set the A/C at a slightly higher temperature so that it doesn’t have to work as hard. Energy consumption falls lower resulting in net savings despite operating two devices at the same time.
Fans or A/C? The better question is, “why not both?” They don’t have to be pitted against each other. These two can work in tandem to give people reprieve from the scorching heat while reducing the cost of operation.
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The rush to get a quality HVAC unit in order to survive the blistering summer and the freezing winters has been given a shot in the arm by the Federal Government. The US Department of Energy recently announced that they would develop innovative heating cooling and insulation technologies for HVAC equipment in order to generate a complete climate control mechanism with a smaller carbon footprint. The $11 million Energy Department investment will also be matched by a one million dollar investment by the private sector, making it one of the largest technological grants ever given to the heating and cooling industry.
How It Works
Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency David Danielson claimed that much of the new technology will involve monitoring energy usage in order to determine whether or not new energy efficient technologies are worth the change. Existing home-power green tech like windows and lighting allow for a house to be heated and cooled more efficiently, but the amount of power that a traditional HVAC unit has to utilize makes it difficult to develop secondary technology when the problem is the HVAC itself. In addition to limiting the amount of energy taken up by HVAC units, this new green tech will attempt to cut down on the amount of HFC refrigerant emissions that create greenhouse gas and trap heat within the atmosphere.
One of the largest recipients of this grant will be Thermolift, who will work in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as Stony Brook University in order to help develop a heat pump with as much as 200% greater energy efficiency. This heat pump will depend upon rotating heat exchanger technology for residential HVAC systems that heats water with less power and provides space cooling by drawing on less electricity. The end result can be up to 150% greater efficiency for water heating and interior cooling.
The Energy Facts
The investment in energy efficient technologies comes at an important time for American climate control. Commercial and residential buildings use nearly 40% of the total energy consumed in the U.S., while generation about the same quantity of carbon which adds to the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. While a five percent drop in energy consumption for heating and cooling from 1993 to 2009 shows that the ability to do more with less is working well, the amount of electricity required each year for climate control in the United States remains extremely high — greater than any other nation. New technologies for HVAC equipment and home construction materials can help to lower the rate of energy usage.
Everyone in Glendora understands the benefits of having a well functioning Air Conditioning unit. However, we don’t always take the right steps to ensure that our A/Cs are in tip top shape. Perhaps if Glendora locals had a better understanding of the different components of their air conditioners and why they require routine maintenance, they would be more willing to take on the minimal costs of repairs and maintenance to improve their system’s efficiency and prolong its productivity.
Why do Air Conditioners Need Maintenance?
In the warmer months, A/C units are a must to ensure home comfort and safety. It doesn’t just stop there. Air conditioners also improve, condition, the air inside of your home by controlling humidity, circulating the air and purifying it. While controlling temperature is the main function of an A/C unit, without these additional comfort benefits, your home would simply not be the same.
Taking into account all of what your air conditioner does for your home, it makes it easier to factor in routine maintenance into your schedule. However, it would help even more to have an understanding of how each component in your system contributes to these benefits and why they need to be maintained regularly in order to your system to run effectively.
The different components of an air conditioner explained
Compressor – The compressor is the single most important component of an air conditioning system. While an A/C needs all of its components to function, the compressor is the catalyst to the entire cooling process. It pressurizes refrigerant and in a series of heat transfers, sends it into the home as a cool liquid to cool the home. A well maintained compressor will ensure that your home receives cold air and releases warm air. Which, of course, is the goal when running the A/C
If your A/C runs loudly, your compressor could be the culprit. A leak and the system not cooling as efficiently are also signs that your compressor may need servicing. Do yourself and your bank account a favor and ensure your compressor never has issues with routine maintenance.
Expansion Valve – Once the refrigerant has been compressed into a cool liquid, the expansion valve gives way for the refrigerant to take its gaseous state. This allows for the cooled, now gas, to flow throughout your home and reduce the indoor temperature. Any issues in the expansion valve will absolutely affect system performance.
A few things to watch for as signs of a faulty or failing expansion valve are poor AC efficiency, frost and a continuously running compressor. If you notice any of these signs of a failing expansion valve, contact an HVAC tech immediately. Any of these signs would be easily noticed during an inspection from a trained AC specialist.
Evaporator – The evaporator coils work to extract the heat and humidity from each individual room of your home. This is the process of conditioning your hoe and is what gives the illusion that an A/C “cools” your home. In reality, it is simply extracting heat and moisture and replacing it with a more neutral air (refrigerant).
Condenser – As evaporator coils draw in hot air from within the home, condenser coils work to push hot air outside of the A/C system’s outdoor unit. They are complimentary systems in this way and, therefore, require similar maintenance. As they work to consistently transfer air throughout the day, both systems of coils are exposed to dust and dirt. Keeping these coils clean is a must to ensure the best system efficiency possible.
Homeowners likely won’t feel comfortable inspecting these coils themselves. This means that regular AC maintenance is a must. Dirt buildup can eventually clog up these coils entirely, rendering your system, useless. Leaks can also occur in older systems. Have an HVAC tech ensure that your system is ready to handle the heat.
If you notice a problem in any of these key components of your HVAC system, contact 25 Dollar Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning right away to get your system back in working order. To make sure your system runs smoothly throughout the year, ask us about maintenance plans.