Residential/Commercial Air Conditioners
An air conditioner is responsible for keeping your home cool, but do you understand how it works? Notice there is no ducting traveling from your air conditioner outside, to inside your home. So where exactly does the cool air come from?
Home air conditioning happens by removing heat energy from your home…not by blowing cold air into it. Air is pulled from the home via the fan motor in your furnace (or air handler). The warm air is then forced through the indoor coil, which contains chilled refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs heat energy out of the air (which cools it). The heated refrigerant is pumped out to the air conditioner where the refrigerant is compressed. Compressing the refrigerant releases the heat energy into the outside air!
The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) which indicates how much power is required to cool a certain space. However, the efficiency of your air conditioner isn’t the only factor. The efficiency of the fan motor, ducting and the quality of the installation all weigh in to dictate overall cooling efficiency.
Residential/Commercial Heat Pumps
A heat pump wasn’t really assigned the most explanatory name, which lends confusion to what they do. Heat pumps are identical to air conditioners except for one small detail: a heat pump can heat your home as well as cool it!
Home heating and air conditioning is really about one thing: moving heat energy. During a hot Florida summer day, you need heat energy moved out of the home to cool it. During cold weather, heat energy must be added back to the home to warm it.
Air is pulled from the home via the fan motor in an air handler. The air is then forced through the indoor coil, which contains refrigerant. The refrigerant either absorbs heat energy from the air (which cools the air), or the passing air absorbs heat energy from the indoor coil to heat your home. Depending on the need, a heat pump either dispenses heat energy into the outside air, or pulls heat energy from the outside air. As you can see, they are amazing little pieces of equipment!
Packaged Heating & Air Conditioning
A packaged system combines all of the components of a split system into a single foot print that is either mounted on the roof, or on a slab in the yard. Packaged systems are designed for homes with limited space inside, that do not have room for indoor equipment. Although they offer convenience, they do not typically have the same efficiency.
Types of Packaged Systems
Packaged HVAC systems either come all electric or electric and gas. They also can either cool only, heat and cool or even offer hybrid heating for increased efficiency.
Residential/Commercial Gas Furnaces
A natural gas furnace does an excellent job at providing toasty warm air during a cold Tallahassee winter day. Natural gas furnaces can also be converted to propane, however a hybrid heating setup should be considered to lower heating costs by using both gas and electric heating sources.
A furnace is comprised of a burner, heat exchanger (metal grid-like object) and a fan motor. When the thermostat registers inside air is too cold, the furnace flame heats the heat exchanger. Then the fan motor pulls air from the home via return air duct(s) and forces the air through the heat exchanger. The cool air absorbs heat energy, and is then sent back into the home!
An Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is used to show the percentage of fossil fuel that is actually converted into heat energy. Modern condensing gas furnaces with variable speed fan motors and fully modulating flames are able to hit very high AFUE ratings.
Indoor Air Quality
Many years ago when homes lacked tight construction, indoor air quality wasn’t quite the concern as it is today. However, modern homes are sealed well to be more energy efficient, but this in turn traps airborne contaminants inside.
You may think you don’t have any indoor pollutants to be afraid of, but most homes actually do. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) for example come from household cleaning products and paints, and make their way into the air with no way out of the home. Other contaminants include molds, bacteria, viruses, pet dander and viruses.
Indoor air quality products are designed with specific purposes. They are not mutually exclusive, but integrate into your system, and work together to protect, refresh and purify your indoor air! Plus, clean air also makes for a cleaner and more efficient heating and air conditioning system.
Gone are the days of mercury based thermostats that only offered temperature control. These have been replaced with modern, digital control centers that do everything from provide weather forecasts to control humidity.
The right digital thermostat for your home can save you money with programming and/or auto-learning features. Remote Internet access also allows you to control your system when you’re not even there, which saves on those days that you’re late for work and forget to turn the A/C down!
Let us help you select the right thermostat for your specific system. Some homeowners have lost substantial amounts of energy savings due to an improperly installed thermostat that didn’t control their system correctly.
Ductless Air Conditioning
If you have been heating and cooling a living space with noisy window and/or floor units, we’ve got some great news for you: a ductless mini-split system can provide heating and cooling without the need for ductwork!
Split System Design
A normal air conditioning system is called a split system because part of the equipment is located outside and part of the equipment is located inside. Split systems require ducting to distribute air.
A mini-split system still uses the split system design, but the indoor air handler is mounted in close proximity to the outdoor unit. Refrigerant lines from the outdoor ductless air conditioner (or heat pump) run inside to the air handler which then circulates and conditioned air in a living space.
If you have more than one room that doesn’t have ducting, a mini-split system can still handle the job. Either more than one outdoor unit can be used, or a single outdoor unit can be used to power more than one air handler. Each indoor unit has its own controls.