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Central Air Conditioner Questions

by HomeRepairExpert.com
Central air conditioning is not just a luxury for many Americans; for people who live in warm weather states, it's practically a necessity, particularly those who are susceptible to heat-related illnesses like the elderly. A study conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute showed that the death rate for people with central air conditioning was 42 percent lower than for people who did not have central air.

Central air conditioning is not just a luxury for many Americans; for people who live in warm weather states, it's practically a necessity, particularly those who are susceptible to heat-related illnesses like the elderly. A study conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute showed that the death rate for people with central air conditioning was 42 percent lower than for people who did not have central air.

How Does a Central Air Conditioner Work?

Central air conditioning starts with the compressor, which converts low pressure refrigerant gas into high-pressure and high-temperature gas. This gas then flows into a condenser unit (such as a condensing coil), where it is cooled and turned back into a liquid state by air provided by a fan. A metering device (as simple as a piece of tubing or a more complex item such as a thermostatic expansion valve) guides the liquid to a cooling coil, where it eventually evaporates into a gaseous state. This process absorbs heat inside the cooling coil and provides cool air, which is then distributed by an air handler throughout a house where it flows through a duct system and into rooms.

What Does an ENERGY STAR Rating Mean?

The ENERGY STAR program is a voluntary program started by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 to identify and promote products that are energy-efficient and converse greenhouse gases. In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency has extended its voluntary ENERGY STAR program to include residential heating and cooling systems including central air conditioning systems. Air conditioners with higher seasonal efficiency ratings than standard models are eligible for an ENERGY STAR rating, with the official ENERGY STAR Web site claiming that such models can save households up to 30 percent on energy costs each year. There are several steps that manufacturers can take to improve the SEER rating of a central air conditioning unit, including using larger coils that more efficiently transfer the heat or variable speed fans that conserve energy.

What is Duct Sealing?

Over time, the ducts that transfer cool air from the conditioning units into each room in a house can become affected by leaks, holes or loose fittings that lead to a significant loss of air. This will make the cooling system inefficient and create issues such as some rooms being too hot while others are too cold. Homeowners can solve many of these problems for themselves by doing a thorough inspection of their duct system and repairing any problems. This includes using mastic sealant or metal tape (though not duct tape) to insulate ducts and repair any leaks or holes and making sure that areas where ducts are connected to floors are well sealed.



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