During Long Island’s summer months, the importance of a well-functioning air conditioner goes without saying. Understanding how optimal airflow and refrigerant charge boost A/C efficiency can help you learn the value of scheduled home air conditioner maintenance at least once a year.
Cooling 101: How air conditioners work
As refrigerant flows into the indoor evaporator, it absorbs heat from the air as the refrigerant changes from liquid form to a low-pressure gas. Adequate airflow across the evaporator is required for this process to go smoothly.
As the refrigerant cools inside the evaporator, the air around it quickly cools as well, and the blower circulates the cooled air to your living space via the ductwork. After the refrigerant leaves the evaporator, it is pumped to the compressor, and then to the condenser, where the refrigerant releases heat. Again, a blower pulls air across the condenser to induce this process.
Cooling 102: Airflow and refrigerant charge
Precise refrigerant charge is required for optimal heat exchange, which is the essence of air conditioner engineering. Refrigerant is pumped within a sealed system. However, leaks may occur over time from wear, damage and/or lack of maintenance. Refrigerant must be checked regularly to ensure it is charged precisely to manufacturer requirements. The evaporator and condenser coils must be clean to allow free airflow.
Unhindered airflow calibrated at the correct speed is required to induce refrigerant heat exchange most efficiently, and to circulate the conditioned air through your home. The air handler needs regular cleaning, lubricating and calibration. Your duct system is important for unhindered airflow, and should be visually inspected for leaks, blockages and disconnected joints.
Cooling 103: For best results
An HVAC professional should perform air conditioner maintenance at the beginning of the cooling months. However, if you haven’t scheduled maintenance recently, it’s still wise to do so rather than waiting until next year. It’s never too late to ensure that airflow and refrigerant charge are correct.
Contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating for more information about air conditioner maintenance or any other HVAC issues. We’ve served homeowners in the Long Island area since 1934.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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