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As with most any devices, in order to ensure a long and healthy life for your air conditioning system, there are a few basic things that should be done by you, and some that are best left to the professionals.
How It Works
Air conditioning, whether small window units or central systems that cool an entire house or offices, are fairly simple at their basics. They work on similar cooling principle, much like your homes refrigerator. The system cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and the condenser are coils of copper tubing surrounded by aluminum cooling fins.
A pump, called the compressor, moves refrigerant gas between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils. The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and thereby cooling the home. Outside the house, the refrigerant releases its heat into the air through the condenser, reverts back to a liquid, and is forced back into the house for more cooling.
A room air conditioner’s efficiency is measured by the energy efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is the ratio of the cooling capacity (in British thermal units [Btu] per hour) to the power input (in watts). The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. National appliance standards require room air conditioners to have an energy efficiency ratio (EER) ranging from 8.0–9.8 or greater, depending on the type and capacity, and ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioners have even higher EER ratings.
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For the handymen visit our A/C Basics section for how your A/C works, maintenance tips, and common replacement products.
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