During these hot summer days, we all know the relief of opening the front door and being greeted with a rush of cool air. We want you to feel that refreshing rush while saving energy and money. So, in order to learn how to efficiently use your air conditioning system, we met with Serviceman Kyle Heckman who walked us through the important basics.
How does an air conditioner work?
Simply put, your air conditioner takes the warm air from inside your home and moves it outside by using refrigerant and fans.
Your evaporator (A) is made up of coils that have cold refrigerant running through it. After air is pushed through an air filter (F), it is blown across these coils (B) and cooled down before entering your home.
The evaporator temperature remains the same regardless of what your thermostat is set at. When you turn your thermostat down a few degrees to cool your home, you are not cooling your home faster.
Instead, you are telling your air conditioner to blow air over the evaporator longer. The more time your air conditioner is running, the more energy you are using.
As the refrigerant is heated by the warm air being blown over it, the refrigerant is pumped to the outside component of your air conditioner by the compressor (D). Inside your outdoor unit, the warm refrigerant is pumped through more coils called the condenser (C) with a fan (E) that blows air over the coils to cool the refrigerant and push the heat out of your air conditioning system. The cooled refrigerant then returns to the evaporator (A) to continually repeat this process.
What is a split system?
These systems are made up of an outdoor unit and an indoor unit that work together. The system described above is a split system and is the most common type of air conditioning system. A split system is often connected to a heat pump which allows your system to work in both directions, heating or cooling your home by either removing the warm air or creating it.
What maintenance should I do?
To make sure your system is working efficiently, replace your air filters each month and keep your outside unit clean. You want to keep leaves and debris from building up. This allows the heat running through the outside coils to be blown out more easily by the fan.
An annual maintenance check from a professional can help keep your air conditioner running properly and increase the lifespan of the unit.
How do I save money with my air conditioner?
In addition to regular maintenance, a smart or programmable thermostat will help you save money by running your air conditioner on an energy efficient schedule. We recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer.
Set your thermostat to increase your home’s temperature while you are away and to return to your preferred temperature about a half hour before you normally arrive home. Remember, dramatically lowering your thermostat’s temperature wastes energy and does not cool your home faster.