When the time comes for upgrading your air conditioner, you should take the selection process very seriously. After all, this investment is one you want to last for many years and provide energy savings thanks to high-efficiency operation. Here are the terms you need to know when upgrading your air conditioner so you can do so wisely.
- Refrigerant: This is the fluid that carries heat out of your home. Older air conditioners use R-22 refrigerant, but this began being phased out in 2010. Be sure to look for R-410A refrigerant when upgrading your air conditioner so it doesn’t become obsolete.
- Refrigerant charge: This is the amount of refrigerant in the system. The correct charge is vital for efficient system operation.
- Coil: This refers to the tubing system through which refrigerant flows when passing between the system’s indoor and outdoor components.
- Evaporator coil: Located indoors, the evaporator is where refrigerant absorbs heat from indoor air.
- Compressor: The compressor is a pump that directs refrigerant from the evaporator coil to the condenser coil, squeezing the gaseous refrigerant tightly so the pressure and temperature rise.
- Condenser coil: Located in the outdoor condensing unit, this is where heat collected from inside is dispelled. The refrigerant is now a liquid, capable of absorbing more heat as it cycles back through the system.
- Expansion valve: This valve releases the pressure created by the compressor so the refrigerant temperature drops and becomes a vapor/liquid mixture.
- SEER: This stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, an indication of how efficiently an A/C provides cooling with regards to the energy it uses. The higher the ratings, the more efficient the system is. Look for SEER 14 or higher for the greatest efficiency.
- Btu: A British thermal unit is the volume of heat it takes to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree. An air conditioner’s capacity is rated by how much heat it can remove, measured in Btu/hr. For example, a two-ton central air conditioner can remove heat at a rate of 24,000 Btu/hr. Knowing a system’s capacity is essential when upgrading your air conditioner so you can size it properly.
Learn more about upgrading your air conditioner by contacting Around the Clock Air Conditioning and Heating in Los Angeles today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about upgrading your air conditioner and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.