Your split A/C system has been keeping you cool all summer, but do you know how it works? Learn the ins and outs of A/C operation, and you can help your A/C system perform more efficiently with lower cooling bills, and last longer with fewer repairs.
Basics of Split A/C Systems
A split A/C system has two units. The unit located outside your home contains the compressor and condenser (heat-exchange coil). The unit inside your home contains an air handler and an evaporator (heat-exchange coil).
There are many other components, including advanced features like variable-speed air handlers, but the basic workings of a split A/C system are best outlined with the four major components, refrigerant heat exchange and airflow.
- As indoor air is pulled through return ducts, refrigerant vaporizes while extracting heat energy from the air at the indoor evaporator coil.
- The air handler forces the cooled air to the living spaces.
- The compressor squeezes the vapor refrigerant as it’s received from the evaporator.
- Once properly prepped, the refrigerant flows into the condenser coil.
- The refrigerant is condensed to liquid and releases heat energy outside the home as, once again, air is pulled across the heat-exchange coil to instigate refrigerant heat energy transfer.
Performance and Longevity
You may have recognized how important free airflow is throughout the cooling process. Free airflow, peak refrigerant charge and optimal component function are necessary for energy efficiency and system longevity. Something as seemingly insignificant as a dirty air filter has quite a negative impact on system performance, which may result in higher cooling bills and system wear.
Look for these signs of A/C trouble and their solutions for optimal comfort and efficiency.
- Warm airflow: Check the evaporator for ice accumulation. Turn the system off and let it defrost. (A dirty filter may be the culprit.)
- Noisy compressor: Incorrect refrigerant charge is often the problem here, which is a matter for your HVAC pro.
- Poor cooling: Check the outside cabinet for airflow obstructions (debris, leaves, etc.). Check the filter, supply outlets and grilles for debris and clean as needed.
While these issues barely touch on split A/C operation, performance and issues, you can always contact us at Meyer’s Heating & Cooling for friendly and prompt service and answers to your questions and needs.