When did people start using cool air for comfort?
Thousands of years ago, the wealthiest of the Romans used aqueducts that ran cool water from the springs, wells and rivers through their walls of the structure to keep them cool. Today, we call that chillers (and it is almost the same principle). Refrigeration was then introduced to us in 1902 by the way of electrical mechanical cooling (more for manufacturing purposes). We definitely give thanks to Willis Carrier for bringing us cooling. However, in the 1940s only the wealthiest could afford a residential systems. It was not until the early 1950s that central air conditioning systems would become more moderately priced. As time went on, central air conditioning became a household item, and a must have item on most people’s want list.
How does air conditioning work and what are the components that make up my air conditioning system?
Central air conditioning is basically a humidity removal tool. That is the first process on the starting up of your air conditioning system. It is also a repeating cycle that never changes unless maintenance is not performed on the equipment. Items needed for air conditioning are: refrigerant (now its Refrigerant 22), refrigerant carrying supply lines (line sets), an evaporator coil with a fixed metering device an outdoor unit to expel heat (heat pumps or condenser), and of course, a furnace or air handler.
Other key important parts of your central air conditioning system is the compressor, the condenser fan motor, and the contactors and start capacitor. This boosts capacitance on start up for the compressor and runs capacitor aids in the running of the compressor.
How can I troubleshoot my air conditioning system?
When the multi capacitor fails, its a good indication that the compressor is on its last leg, but not always. Sometimes a heavy concentration of dirt build upon the condenser coils (which is the outside unit) creates these problems. The condenser fan motor (which is that fan you see spinning on top of you out side unit) cannot pull the air through the dirty coils. That is why HVAC contractors always remind you to service your a/c system annually. There are also problems such as power supply from your local electrical company that can cause capacitance problems like power loss. Central air conditioning requires 220 to 240 volts to operate properly, and we have seen in the field that the power feed was 180 volts and less. The unit may run but at a weak performance level, and this can cause serious problems to the compressor (especially during peak cooling season when everyone is running their air conditioning).
Now, if you have a forest around your outdoor condenser, please cut it down or trim it so air can flow. If your outdoor unit is under your deck with no room for it to breath, have an HVAC contractor come out to move it.
Understanding your air conditioner (how it works and how to fix it) is the first step to optimizing your heating and cooling systems in your home!