Air Conditioner, also known as AC, A.C, ac, or A/C is a machine for lowering room temperature. The room can be office, residential, or in a car. Air conditioner’s mechanical working principle is the same as a refrigerator’s refrigeration cycle.
Although air conditioner’s original purpose was to lower the temperature of a given area, design incorporated a mechanism that does the reverse – heat the room. A technology in variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems is an example that does the reverse of the refrigeration cycle. It absorbs heat from the outside environment and transfers it to the room.
Another technology in AC employs electric heater or element installed on the AC that generates heat which is fanned to the conditioned room. But in instances where the element doesn’t produce sufficient heating, a separate furnace can be installed.
A furnace is a dedicated machine for generating heat, and it can be connected beside an AC for warming the room. If it’s included in the AC system, the heat it produces is also pushed to the conditioned room via the same AC duct line.
Since the invention of AC by Willis H. Carrier in 1902, AC design has evolved to suit different applications: House Air Conditioning, and Vehicle Air Conditioning. House AC designs are divided into Central air conditioners, Packaged air conditioners, Split type air conditioners, and Window type air conditioners. Each design is informed by how it fits a specific application. Meaning a mini-split AC would be a practical installation for a 150 square feet room instead of a central air conditioner with a duct line.
Automobile air conditioning application is seen in small cars, trucks, heavy commercial trucks and machines, and refrigerated containers.
Air Conditioner’s size, or capacity to cool, is measured in Ton, or British Thermal Unit (BTU): In the early years of refrigeration before household refrigerators were invented, towns had central ice stores where residents could buy ice to use at home. Cooling capacity was measured by how much cooling a ton of ice could do. Refrigeration industry later borrowed the term ton and standardized it to British Thermal Unit (Btu). Hence one ton of ice’s cooling ability equals 12000Btu. You can easily see your AC’s BTU size displayed on the condensing unit or evaporator unit.
Global climate is fast changing to the extreme; high temperatures during hot seasons are getting more intense and winter temperatures are causing much discomfort. This is fast making air conditioner a necessity. And if you don’t own a home or office AC yet, chances are you would in the near future.
You need to have basic information about the process of buying your home or office AC. This can enable you to make informed decision prior to a purchase. But if you already have one at home or at the office, you should learn basic maintenance tips and DIY to escape avoidable service disruption. You can also save on tangible bucks unnecessarily payable to a call technician, and empower yourself to defeat repair scams.
Air conditioning equipment is like any other machine that needs simple regular DIY maintenance to prolong its life and avoid a major breakdown. You need to know which parts require regular dusting, tightening of loose nuts, and general cleaning. Such maintenance is also good for car air conditioners to avoid inefficiency and respiratory side effects.
How does an AC system work?