The story and process of Air Conditioning
June 13, 2013
We’d like to take this opportunity to educate our customers on the 100 year old process of Air Conditioning to help them better understand. A process that is equally about removing humidity as it is about removing heat from the indoor air.
Go back 111 years. A young electrical engineer by the name of Willis Haviland Carrier decided to look at the humidity problem that the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company located in Brooklyn N.Y. had. The amount of moisture that the paper stock was absorbing in the warm, humid summer months was making it hard to apply ink in the layered techniques that were popular at the time.
The solution was to pass the indoor air across chilled pipes. This resulted in the air being cooled. Since cool air cannot carry as much moisture as warm air, it also removed humidity which reduced the moisture content in the paper and made the overall feeling of the building much more comfortable to its inhabitants.
This new technology began to catch on in commercial and retail settings.
So what is flowing through these pipes? Refrigerant is a chemical compound which (in the residential setting) passes through pipes to a coil located most times above your furnace to an outdoor coil. In different areas of the coil this refrigerant will evaporate (indoors) and condense (outdoors) over and over again. When a liquid converts to a gas (evaporates), it will absorb heat. This is what happens above your furnace. So the air being circulated through the house by your furnace is “cooler” that the air that is entering the furnace. The hot refrigerant then passes through pipes to the outdoor coil. Outside the refrigerant converts back to a liquid (condenses). The fan on top of the outdoor unit then draws air into the unit and expels the heat through the top of the unit. On a hot day, you can put your hand over the working air conditioner outdoors and feel the heat being expelled from the top.
What keeps it moving? A compressor is very similar to a piston in a car, which sits in the outdoor unit in line with the pipes and coils. This works away to compress the gas and keep the refrigerant moving.
So to address some questions that we do get from customers fairly regularly:
Q: Does the furnace work in the summer time?
A: Yes. It gives the air conditioner the signal to turn on. It also uses the indoor fan to circulate the air over the coil and throughout the house. Basically, the same operation as the winter without the burners coming on.
Q: How do I remove humidity?
A: As you read above, the act of air conditioning will dehumidify. Avoid running your air conditioner intermittently. Or if you do want to use it only certain times, anticipate humid weather and turn it on well in advance. Turning it on after the hot and humid weather has infiltrated your home will result in a slow reaction. Also make sure your air conditioner is not over-sized. Often time, customers and some contractors believe “Bigger is Better”. This is not the case. The air conditioner needs to run long enough to dehumidify the air efficiently. On a very hot day, the air conditioner can and should run around 20 out of 24 hours a day.
Q: Can I run my air conditioner only sometimes?
A: As stated above, we recommend turning it on at a desirable temperature and leaving it there. Remember, if you set it at 25 degrees Celsius, it won’t come on if the temperature drops below that. If it gets warmer, it will not have to work so hard or take a long time to get to a comfortable level.
Hogg Mechanical wishes you a long and happy summer! As always, we are here should you need us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
If you have any questions, concerns or require additional information please feel free to comment below or contact us at any of the sources provided. firstname.lastname@example.org, 519.579.5330, Twitter @HoggMechanical, Facebook Hogg Mechanical
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