That magic word that means a cool, pleasant home on the hottest days. While central air has not always been around, most modern Americans wouldn’t know how to live without it.
So we thought it would be beneficial to give a quick overview of how central air works and why it’s better than the alternative window units.
The Basics of Central Air
Central air conditioning has what is known as an air-handler. This system is generally located in the basement or crawlspace of a home. A home that has central air uses the same ductwork as the heating system (if the home uses forced hot air). The air-handler is responsible for cycling air through your home.
A central air system has two elements used for cooling: the compressor and the indoor refrigerant coils. The compressor is located outside of the home and is usually placed on a slab near one of the exterior walls. The housing of the compressor also houses the outdoor condenser coils that are responsible for releasing the heat from the home. The compressor is filled with a refrigerant that works to cool the air as it passes over the indoor refrigerant coils.
The indoor refrigerant coils are made of copper and are filled with a refrigerant (Freon). As the warm air from the home is cycled over these coils, the air cools and is returned to the home.
The Role of the Compressor
The compressor is responsible for changing the refrigerant back into a liquid. When Freon is heated by the warm air from the home, it is changed into a vapor. Compressing the gas increases both the temperature and the pressure, causing it to turn into a liquid again.
The Indoor Unit
The indoor unit of a central air system is the same one that is used for forced hot air. The thermostat to your home is attached to the indoor unit and regulates the temperature of the home. The warm air from the home is sent through the indoor refrigerant coils. These Freon-filled coils absorb the heat from the air. The heat is then released outside the home and the process begins again.
Why Choose Central Air Over Window Units?
Window units are a cheap option for those who want to cool their entire home but do not have the funds for the installation of a central air unit. While window units have their place, they are not the ideal choice, especially for larger homes. Because window units are localized, they cannot monitor and maintain the entire house. Thus, the room that has the window unit may be uncomfortably cool, while the remainder of the home is unpleasantly warm. Central air, on the other hand, maintains the entire home at the temperature you select.