Central air conditioning works to provide you with the highest level of comfort in your home during the sweltering summer months. By removing heat and humidity and circulating cool air, central air creates a pleasant and livable atmosphere inside your home no matter the temperature outside. Air conditioning systems function the same way as refrigerators. There are five main parts to any air conditioner: a compressor, internal heat-exchanging pipes, an expansion valve, external heat-exchanging pipes, and a refrigerant, which is commonly called Freon. The Freon is first compressed in the compressor, which turns it into a hot, high-pressure gas. The hot gas then travels through the internal pipes where it dissipates heat and liquefies. The liquid passes through the expansion valve and evaporates into a cold, low-pressure gas. The cold gas then runs through the external pipes and absorbs heat, cooling the air in the room.
An air conditioning system performs two basic tasks for you – it cools the hot air and removes humidity. The first function is easily noticeable, but the second is just as important. Reduced humidity makes the air feel cooler, allowing you to set the actual temperature level higher and conserve energy. Also, damp air can make furniture sticky and uncomfortable and shorten the freshness time of many foods kept in cabinets.
Humidity also affects the human body. High levels of moisture in the air impair the body’s ability to sweat, which raises internal temperature and can even cause heatstroke, a condition marked by extreme fatigue and nausea. High humidity levels also foster the growth of bacteria that feed dust mites, which are nearly microscopic organisms that flourish in carpets and bedding and are a prominent cause of asthma. Though dust mites thrive in even the cleanest homes, humidity reduction disrupts dust mites’ living environment, which can greatly reduce the number living in your home.
Central air conditioning provides not only comfort but important health protection by reducing humidity. We can install central air conditioning that works in conjunction with your heating system.
What’s a SEER Rating?
Every air conditioning model manufactured and sold in the United States receives a SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This number is calculated by dividing the number of BTUs of heat removal by the total watt-hours of energy use. One BTU (British Thermal Unit) equals the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit – roughly the amount of energy created by a lit birthday candle; watt-hours measure electricity. By calculating the ratio between how much heat an air conditioner removes and the energy it needs to do so, the energy efficiency can be determined. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the air conditioner. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recently raised the minimum SEER rating in the U.S. to 13, which will result in a significant decrease in energy consumed by residential air conditioners. When purchasing a new air conditioning unit, look for the higher SEER ratings. The extra initial expense will be returned to you in monthly energy bill savings.
If you’re interested in home improvement…
Upgrading your current air conditioning system to one with a higher SEER rating will save you money and increase your family’s comfort level at home. Also, newer units have improved filtration, run more quietly, and require less maintenance. Consider installing an Energy Star approved unit; these are appliances designed to use as little energy as possible and still run smoothly. Saving energy prevents pollution. By choosing Energy Star and taking steps to optimize the performance of your cooling equipment, you are helping to prevent global warming and promoting cleaner air while enhancing the comfort of your home. You can find more information at www.energystar.gov –
If you’re purchasing a new home…
Look for a home with central air conditioning already installed. If this is not possible, a home that utilizes a duct heating system can be easily adapted to also accommodate central air conditioning in the summer months. Also remember to check out the SEER rating of the unit. Find out what the local electric company charges per kilowatt-hour and estimate how much it will cost to run the air conditioning in your new home. Remember, it may be worth your money to upgrade the system if it has a low SEER rating.