How much do you know about your central air conditioning system? If you are like many homeowners, you know what an air conditioner does, just not how it performs. For example, most residential central air conditioners are considered split systems because they have an outdoor component with a condenser and compressor, and an indoor component such as a furnace that distributes the cool air throughout your home. Following are some basic terms that will help you understand more about how your air conditioning works—and may help you communicate with your heating and cooling technician when problems pop up.
- Air handler—This is the indoor unit of your cooling system which contains the evaporator coil, blower fan, and condensate drain.
- Blower fan—The blower fan, above the evaporator coil, draws air across the coil and cools it before pushing it through the ductwork.
- Condenser—This is the outdoor unit of your cooling system which sits outside or on the roof.
- Compressor—The compressor inside the condenser changes the refrigerant and circulates it.
- Condenser coil—This coil helps to dissipate the heat the refrigerant removes from your home. A large fan pulls air over the coil and speeds its cooling.
- Evaporator coil—Refrigerant circulates through this coil and absorbs the heat that the fan sends over it. This coil also reduces humidity in your home.
- MERV rating—MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which tells you how well the air filter on your system removes particles from the air. The higher your MERV rating, the more effective it is at removing smaller particles. If someone in your home suffers from allergies or other respiratory ailments, you will want a filter with a higher rating.
- Refrigerant—The most common type of refrigerant that was previously used was R-22 or Freon. Because R-22 causes environmental problems, the EPA banned its use starting in 2010 and replaced it with Puron. Some older systems may still have Freon in the unit, which will have to be replaced during a service or repair call. Knowing the name of the refrigerant will be helpful when you call for HVAC service. You can find it on the label on your outside condenser.
- SEER rating—SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio which is the cooling output during a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. Essentially, this is a measurement of unit efficiency, so if you are replacing your central air system, you want a higher SEER number. The government requires a minimum SEER of 13. If you are looking to save money on your cooling costs you want a SEER above 16. The professional Bryant technicians at DuctWorks will help you select a high-efficiency unit while staying within your budget.