Goettl Air Conditioning Blog : Archive for the ‘Air Conditioning’ Category

What Exactly Is a Swamp Cooler?

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

man-with-electric-fanWe live in a very hot climate, obviously. That means that you not only need a great air conditioner that will reliably cool your home, but you also want one that won’t cost too much to run. After all, you don’t want to be draining your budget just to live comfortably.

Because we also live in a very dry climate, though, you really don’t want your air conditioner drying out the air in your home further. During the cooling process, as refrigerant evaporates and draws heat out of the air, moisture condenses and is drained away by a traditional AC. How do you prevent your air from drying out excessively? You could use a humidifier, or you could use an entirely different cooling process — one that actually helps you to add humidity to the air.

How Does It Work?

Very simply, actually. Unlike a traditional central air conditioner or heat pump, an evaporative, or swamp, cooler does not rely upon a refrigeration cycle in order to remove heat from the air in your home, disperse it outdoors, and recirculate cooled air throughout the house. In fact, the evaporative cooler shares more in common with a humidifier than it does with a traditional AC, to a certain degree.

Ideal for climates like ours where humidity levels tend to be low, an evaporative cooler actually cools air coming into the house by releasing humidity into it. Air is drawn in from outdoors, and is passed over water-saturated pads in the cooling system. This causes water to evaporate into the air, cooling it by 15-40 degrees in the process.

Great Energy Efficiency Awaits!

Because there is no refrigerant cycle to facilitate, swamp coolers use far less electricity than traditional air conditioners do. Keep in mind that you are only going to get the most efficient and reliable performance possible from your system if it is of the right size for your home, installed properly, and regularly serviced. Due to the element of water in the cooling system, evaporative coolers actually require more maintenance than standard central ACs.

Pads have to be replaced, generally at least twice throughout the cooling season. There are filters that will have to be replaced, a reservoir to clean, and a pump that will need to be kept in prime working condition. You should also remember that not all swamp coolers are as efficient as others. The process is inherently efficient, but newer, two-stage models using a pre-cooler are even more effective and can save you more energy.

So Too Does Great Indoor Air Quality!

When you run a swamp cooler, you actually need to leave your windows open a bit in order to bring in fresh air that can be passed through the cooler. When you compare this to the operation of a central AC, which will usually lead homeowners to seal up their homes to conserve energy, the advantage in terms of air quality is clear.

Not only will a swamp cooler keep your home cool and comfortable efficiently, but it can also keep the air well-humidified and of a high quality. They’re not right for every home or situation, naturally. If you think that you could benefit from the use of an evaporative cooler, though, be sure to give us a call and have the job done right.

Contact Goettl Air Conditioning with any questions that you may have. 

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What Does Ice on an Air Conditioner Mean?

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

thermostat-going-redIn certain parts of the country, there is still snow on the ground (or even in the forecast!). In other parts of the country, signs of warmer weather are becoming more apparent, though the real hot temperatures are still a ways off. Here in Arizona, though, we’re already seeing temperatures in the upper 70’s, or even the mid to high 80’s!. Our air conditioning systems often get a much earlier start than those in other areas, which is exactly why it is so important that you have yours tuned up and ready for action sooner rather than later.

Now, routine air conditioning maintenance is definitely the best way to keep your AC up and running properly. The truth of the matter, though, is that even the best air conditioners that are the most diligently maintained are not going to function 100% reliably. No mechanical system will. The best thing to do is to learn the warning signs of problems, so that you can schedule prompt air conditioning repairs. One issue that you may encounter is ice building up on your system.

Ice on the Evaporator Coil

You may not have much cause for checking in on your evaporator coil. However, it is actually very beneficial to do so every now and then. You may not feel comfortable cleaning your evaporator coil on your own — which is something that we are happy to do for you — but peeking into that air handler from time to time means that you can catch signs of icing over early on.

Your evaporator coil is the point at which refrigerant is evaporated, hence the name. The evaporation of your refrigerant allows for the removal of heat from the air within your home. If there is ice on your evaporator coil, then it will impede this process, causing your system to overwork itself in trying to cool your home. That is why it’s a problem — but what causes the icing?

If it is your evaporator coil that’s iced over, it could be something as simple as a dirty air filter. You could also have blower fan problems. How does  this cause icing? By restricting airflow. If there is not enough hot air moving over the evaporator coil, then the coil can get too cold. When that happens, the condensation that collects 0n the coil before being drained down the condensate drain/pan assembly can freeze over. The thicker the ice gets, the more insulated the coil, so this is something of a self-perpetuating problem.

BONUS PRO-TIP!

Air conditioners do not use water in their operation (other than swamp coolers, which don’t use a refrigerant cycle). If you have a central AC or heat pump, and see water surrounding your indoor unit, it could be ice melting off of your evaporator coil.

Ice on the Condenser Unit/Refrigerant Lines

If you have ice on your outdoor unit, you’d probably be surprised considering just how hot the air outside is. Obviously, this is an abnormality. Ice on the outdoor unit, along with frost or ice on the refrigerant line themselves, will generally indicate a refrigerant leak. Basically, having too little refrigerant in the system is going to lead to issues with the heat transfer process, which can cause this icing. You may also have a refrigerant leak if your evaporator coil is iced over, though it’s not as immediately obvious and would likely be accompanied by these other points icing over.

Allowing your system to run when it’s icing over can lead to serious strain on your AC, particularly on your compressor. With weather as hot as ours, that is just inviting catastrophe to your system. Don’t let your system overheat and burn out. Contact us to have the problem resolved immediately.

Goettl Air Conditioning is here for all of your air conditioning service needs.

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