How Your Air Conditioner Works: Everything You Need to Know

What are the main components of your AC?

1. The ducts
The process your air conditioner uses to cool down your house starts with the ducts. Split cooling AC systems work by taking the hot air and pulling it out of your house.

The supply ducts distribute cold air from the air handler in your machine into your house. The return ducts then suck in warm air from the room and carry it to the air handler, which cools it down ready to be redistributed.

If you have a properly installed AC unit, then this process will be done with minimal noise and will give you an even spread of cooled air throughout the house.

2. The registers
The registers work as the area in the system that the warm or cold air comes out of. These are generally on the ceiling or on the floor if they are a return register.

The supply registers distribute cold air into the house from the ceiling as cold air falls through the house. The return registers are then on the floor, ready to take air back through the air ducts to the air handler.

3. The air handler and condenser
The air handler does the job of taking the warm air that has been extracted from the room through the registers, along the ducts, and then, to the handler. This air then goes through the condenser, which is a piece of machinery that has liquid-cooled coils where the air is blown through. It passes back into the ducts system to be distributed back into the house.

Why should you maintain your air conditioning unit?
Air conditioning is a significant investment in both money and the time that it takes to install. A full installation or significant repair job isn’t something you want to have to deal with regularly.

For this reason, it’s essential to keep your air conditioner properly maintained. This is similar to how you may maintain your car. You’ll keep an eye on the oil and coolant in your car, so that you don’t have to take it in for an expensive repair job for something simple to maintain all by yourself.

For your air conditioning, this is very similar, and replacing an old air filter with a new one may be all you need to do to save hundreds of dollars on a more significant fix.

Also, by doing basic maintenance, you’ll be improving the efficiency of your AC, making it better at keeping your house at the temperature you want it and improving the air quality.

Basic maintenance to get your house ready for summer As the winter months pass and the days start to get longer again, you know that summer isn’t far away.

This means it’s almost time to start turning off the central heating and turning the AC on. If your AC has a heating option, then there’s a good chance you’ve been using it, but if not, then it will have been gathering dust in its months not in use.

If this is the case, there’s a good chance that it will need a quick maintenance check before you start it up again. It won’t take long, but it will mean that you avoid any malfunctions as you set your air conditioning live again.

Without this simple check, you could face an inefficient system that leads to higher energy bills, or even worse, having to call a professional to replace parts.

The main decision you need to decide on is if you hire a professional or do it yourself. In general, if it’s simple cleaning and maintenance procedures, this is something you could do yourself. This includes things like cleaning and replacing filters. For a full service, then you’ll
want to default to a professional.

For many jobs, you may end up doing more damage than help if you’re unsure of what you’re doing, which will lead to costing you more in the long run. Even cleaning and basic tasks could be outsourced just for the peace of mind that it’s a
professional doing the job.

What will a professional do?
It’s a good habit to call a professional to do a full service of your air conditioning system before you use it in the summer. This will ensure that everything is working correctly, and that you can replace any parts or fix any issues before you need to rely on your AC to cool the house.

This will also mean that any problems that are forming are caught before they cause long-term damage or lead to a part needing to be replaced.

A professional will have all the tools at hand to make fixes there and then, and they will be able to quickly order in any parts that you need. It’s a good idea to try to find a professional that you trust and you can see regularly.

This may take some trial and error, but it will mean that you can call someone quickly if you need them, and they will already be familiar with your set-up.

When you call a professional to service your air conditioner before summer, they will clean the evaporator coils and the condenser.

To make sure they are working as effectively as possible, check if the system’s refrigeration system is working correctly and has the needed
charge.

They will review all of the electrical elements of the system and tighten them if needed. All of the drains will be flushed, and the ducts will be checked, cleaned, and repaired when needed to ensure effective airflow.

They will also check for any wear and tear and will recommend new parts if they notice that anything is close to breaking or in need of
replacing. Taking this advice will extend how long your air conditioning system works and will minimize how much you spend on inefficient energy usage.

What can you do yourself?
It may seem like a professional service will leave you well-covered, but there’s a lot of basic maintenance you can do yourself between your yearly services. If you’re somewhat handy, then there’s a lot you can learn from tutorials online to make sure you aren’t doing anything
that may cause any damage.

The first thing to do is to get to know your system. Take some time to identify all of the elements of your air conditioner, including the condenser, which you’ll generally have installed outside of the house, and an evaporator, which will be on the air handler.

You’ll also find the filters, which are used to filter the air going through the system and minimize the amount of dust going into the system. These are found in the indoor unit and can be easily removed for cleaning.

You then have all of the air ducts, which are distributed around your house, from the air handler to the vents, where the cold air is delivered into your room. You’ll also have a thermostat, which is used to digitally change the temperature of the room.

This is what the system uses to identify when to turn on or off. Finally, there are the registers which are the grills found at the top of your rooms where the chilled air comes out of. Ensure that the system is safe.

Before you start, make sure that all the power to the air conditioning unit has been switched off. You’ll generally find the switch to kill the power near the outdoor unit of your AC system.

Make sure that this is turned off. Once turned off, wait for around 30 minutes as the capacitor in the unit can retain an electrical charge. In addition, make sure to avoid any electrical parts of the system with your bare hands just to be completely safe.

Cleaning and replacing filters
This is one of the most important jobs to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of your air conditioning system. The filters clear any dust or particulates from the air, and make sure that they don’t end up in the system. They also maintain the quality of the air being circulated
throughout your house.

Check your system’s manual to identify what type of filters it uses and find a reputable store like Aclube to source them from. It may use disposable filters that you can throw in the trash and replace with new ones, or may have reusable filters that can be removed and cleaned by hand with water.

Check to see how many different filters your air conditioning system has and where you can find them. If you’re using your AC regularly throughout the summer, try to replace or clean them at least once per month to maximize the
efficiency of your system.


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