What’s even better than a cold glass of lemonade on a flaming hot day? Air conditioning.
Here’s a quick rundown on how air conditioners work, the different types, and basic care. Plus, two ways to manage summer electric bills.
With a little regular attention, your AC will always be ready to beat the heat. And with the least amount of energy.
How your air conditioner works
AC works like your fridge. Which might not work as you think! Refrigerators don’t make cool air, per se. They move heat and humidity out of the box by circulating a chemical refrigerant through a series of coils.
While air conditioners have different setups, most of the parts are the same. Knowing them can help you with maintenance and troubleshooting.
- Air filter: Keeps airborne dust and allergens out of your home and the AC unit
- Refrigerant: Heat-transferring fluid
- Evaporator: The cold coil of indoor tubing where the refrigerant collects heat
- Condenser: The hot coil of outdoor tubing where the refrigerant releases heat
- Compressor: Pumps the refrigerant between evaporator and condenser
- Fans: Circulate air over the evaporator and the condenser
- Thermostat: Regulates the amount of cool air going into your home
- Drain hole or hose: Directs humidity outdoors after it condenses into water inside the system
Clean air filters are key
When its airflow is restricted, your air conditioner works harder. So clean or change the air filters regularly. It’s a simple way to prevent breakdowns, give the equipment a long life, and control your electric bill.
Energy tip: To lower AC costs, seal and insulate
When your home is air-sealed and insulated, it keeps out hot outdoor air. Your air conditioner has less work to do and uses less energy.