The common central air conditioner we take for granted is usually the most complex system in the house. There’s a lot to know about the essentials of central air conditioning that can help you operate efficiently, maintain it properly and call for professional service if and when it’s required. Here are five basic fundamentals.

How It Works

An air conditioner doesn’t manufacture coolness; it moves heat. The evaporator coil at the indoor air handler extracts heat energy from household air and transfers it to the refrigerant. The refrigerant flows through an insulated line to the outdoor unit where it’s compressed, and then enters the condenser coil where the heat is dispersed into the outside air.

What Can Go Wrong?

Many common problems can be traced to either insufficient system airflow or low refrigerant. Low airflow can range from a simple clogged filter to major duct deterioration. When refrigerant is insufficient, there’s usually a leak somewhere that must be traced and repaired.

Maintenance Requirements

DIY upkeep is basically limited to monthly filter changes and keeping the outside unit clear of weeds and fallen leaves. Annual A/C preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC service tech addresses more complex matters that are critical to maintaining energy efficiency specs, preventing breakdowns and keeping the manufacturer’s warranty in force.

Sizing Matters

A new central air conditioner should be carefully sized to the requirements of the house. A cooling load calculation by a qualified HVAC contractor matches the unique cooling demands of the house to the BTU capacity of the air conditioner. Over- or undersized units waste energy and offer disappointing performance.

Humidity Counts, Too

It’s called air conditioning because, in addition to removing heat, the evaporator coil also extracts humidity from the air. Dry, conditioned air cools more efficiently and feels more comfortable.

For more essential knowledge about air conditioning, as well as professional sales and service, contact Wolff Mechanical.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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