Living in Southern California makes air conditioners a part of daily life during the summers—as well as other parts of the year. But how much do you really know about the AC system that keeps your home cool? Below are five facts about air conditioning systems that we wish everybody knew, since they make it easier to understand when an air conditioner needs repairs or a full replacement.
ONE: ACs don’t “create” cooling
This is a basic fact about how any refrigeration system works that few people know. This is because they immediately think of cooling systems as being the opposite of something like, say, a stove or furnace, where heat is created. But cooling is the absence of heat. What an air conditioner does is remove the heat from the air inside a house, making it cooler. The heat has to go somewhere, and that’s why an air conditioner must have an outside unit to release the heat.
TWO: Air conditioners circulate the same amount of refrigerant
It’s unfortunately common for people to think that the refrigerant inside an air conditioning system is a type of fuel that an AC consumes as it works. But this isn’t the case. The actual fuel the air conditioner consumes is electricity. The electricity powers the components that move the refrigerant around the system so it can transport heat from inside the house to the outside. The refrigerant doesn’t dissipate as it does this, so as long as there are no refrigerant leaks, an AC should keep the same refrigerant charge for its entire service life.
THREE: The AC’s filter must be changed regularly
The filter in an AC isn’t there to improve the quality of the indoor air. (You need special air filters installed into the HVAC system for that.) Its job is to stop dust and other particles from getting inside the HVAC cabinet and creating trouble. This filter isn’t self-cleaning! It will eventually become congested and block airflow through the system, harming both performance and efficiency. We recommend changing the filter every 1 to 3 months. Less expensive panel filters need the more frequent changes than pleated filters.
FOUR: Dirt is one of the biggest enemies of air conditioner efficiency and operation
An air conditioner picks up dirt in both the indoor and outdoor cabinet over time, and this will cause the system to lose energy efficiency and run into other problems like frozen coils and burnt-out motors. Regular maintenance handles cleaning the AC unit so it runs at its best.
FIVE: R-22 refrigerant will soon be unavailable
For decades, air conditioners used a refrigerant blend called R-22. Because R-22 creates ozone-depleting emissions, it is being gradually phased-out in favor of R-410A, or “Puron.” Manufacturing of new R-22 has already stopped, so only recycled refrigerant can be used to repair older systems. By 2020, it won’t be legal to replace lost R-22. If you have an old AC system that uses R-22, we recommend putting in a new system at your earliest convenience.
When you need air conditioning service in San Bernardino, CA or the surrounding areas, you can trust to our experienced team. We have a long history of helping homes enjoy comfort through our extremely hot summers.
Service your AC today: Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.