The modern miracle of electro-mechanical air conditioning started in the early 20th century when Willis Haviland Carrier introduced an invention to cool down and control humidity in a paper plant. Since the mid-1950s, air conditioners have become accepted standard equipment in homes, as common as stoves, refrigerators, and televisions.
However, homeowners often know little about how air conditioners operate: they usually have a firmer grasp on the mysteries of a more recent invention, the microwave oven. Here are three misunderstanding about air conditioning systems that we often encounter in our work.
Although a little knowledge about ACs is helpful, you should always turn to professionals when it’s time for installation, repairs, or maintenance. DB Heating & Cooling can provide the assistance you need to get the most out of your home’s air conditioning in Westwood, NJ. There are no AC misunderstandings among our trained staff!
#1. “Air conditioners create cool air”
Although an AC fan blows out cool air, it is inaccurate to say that the system creates cold air the same way that a furnace creates hot air. In the case of a furnace, the burning of fuel generates heat, which is then transferred to the air. But an air conditioner does not burn any fuel. What it does instead is use electricity to run mechanical components that move heat from one location to another. When an air conditioner removes heat from the indoor air, the air feels cooler to us.
#2. “Turning the thermostat down lower will cool a space faster”
It’s tempting to turn an air conditioner’s thermostat down to the lowest temperature possible (60°F for most systems) believing that the air conditioner will ramp up the speed that it blasts out cold air. However, lowering the thermostat isn’t like pressing your foot against an accelerator pedal. A thermostat is simply a switch: it turns the AC’s compressor on until reaching the set temperature. The rate of cooling does not change. Putting the temperature at its lowest setting will simply keep the compressor running for a longer period. This is a leading cause of energy waste in homes; it is far more efficient to keep the thermostat set at a comfortable higher temperature.
#3. “You’ll have better AC efficiency leaving the system running when you aren’t home”
This myth comes from a belief that it requires more energy to turn a system on and off than to leave it running steadily. While it’s true that an air conditioner uses the most amount of power when it starts up, it is far more wasteful to force the air conditioner’s compressor—the component that drains the most energy—to run for 8 hours replacing cool air with cool air. A much better plan is to use a programmable thermostat to turn the AC on a half hour before you return home so you arrive to a cool house.
To help receive the best cooling power from your air conditioning in Westwood, NJ this summer, call DB Heating & Cooling. We are fully insured and EPA-certified.