Air conditioners are a vital component in most homes, providing much-needed relief from the heat during the warmer months of the year.
Like any mechanical device, air conditioners require regular maintenance to keep operating efficiently and to avoid breakdowns.
One thing that many people don’t know is that air conditioners should only be serviced when the temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep reading to learn why.
Air Conditioning 101
Air conditioning units use refrigerants to cool the air inside your home.
The most commonly used refrigerants in modern air conditioning systems are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), such as R-410A, and HFC blends, such as R-407C. These refrigerants are preferred over older refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which have been found to have negative impacts on the environment, particularly on the ozone layer. However, there are ongoing efforts to find even more environmentally friendly refrigerants, such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), that can provide the same cooling performance while having a lower environmental impact.
The core components of an air conditioning system include the following:
- Expansion valve
The cooling process begins when the refrigerant, a substance with unique heat absorption properties, circulates within the system.
It starts in the evaporator, where it absorbs heat from the indoor air, causing the refrigerant to evaporate and the air to cool down. The cooled air is then circulated throughout the home by a fan.
Meanwhile, the refrigerant, now in a gaseous state, moves to the compressor, where it is pressurized and heated. The hot, high-pressure refrigerant gas then passes through the condenser, where it releases the absorbed heat to the outdoors.
As it cools, the refrigerant returns to a liquid state and flows through the expansion valve, reducing its pressure and temperature before re-entering the evaporator to restart the process.
This continuous cycle effectively maintains a comfortable and consistent indoor temperature.
Operational Effective Temperature Range
Liquid migration, a phenomenon where liquid refrigerant seeks the coldest area in a closed system, can occur in air conditioning units during their off cycle. The refrigerant’s behavior is based on the pressure-temperature relationship, causing it to migrate to the coldest area when the system is off.
Operating an air conditioner when outdoor temperatures are below 65 degrees is not recommended because the refrigerant may accumulate in the compressor, potentially damaging the compressor.
Contact the Air Comfort of KY team today to schedule a precision AC tune-up that will help you stay comfortable this spring and summer.