Air Conditioner Terms: What Do They Mean?

31 March 2016
 Categories: , Blog

When you're talking to air conditioner maintenance technicians or looking on their websites, you'll probably hear and see terms that you're not familiar with. Don't let that you put you off researching the subject, as knowledge about these items is important when you're purchasing new cooling equipment, requesting repairs or scheduling regular maintenance.

Filters: These devices help to remove allergens, contaminants, pollutants, and other particles from the cooled air before it reaches your living spaces. There are various types of filters available, and they're usually made of paper, polyester, fibreglass, cotton/poly blends or non-woven synthetics.

Heat pumps: These are outdoor units that warm or cool homes by moving heat. For example, in the spring and summer the heat pump removes the heat from your home through the air ducts and releases it outdoors. Heat pumps may transfer hot or cold air through the medium of air to air, water to water, air to water or ground to water.

Compressors: In air conditioners and heat pumps, compressors, similar to a human heart, are used to pressurize refrigerant and to pump it through air conditioner systems. Compressors are part of the outdoor units of cooling systems.

Condenser coils: The coils in an air conditioner are where the hot compressed gas from the compressor condenses into a liquid before expanding to cool the home. They are located outside the building and have a large fan to blow outside air over the coil to improve the heat transfer.

Load calculation: A series of measurements, often done with a mathematical computerized design tool, that are used to determine the cooling requirements of your home. This means that you can have properly sized air conditioning equipment installed. Information such as the square footage of your home, window or door areas, insulation quality and local climate are all used when calculating load.

Vacuum test: This is a check to see if the refrigeration system of an air conditioner is completely sealed. A vacuum test is done before the air conditioner is recharged with refrigerant.

Energy ratings: This is the amount of cooling capacity an air conditioner has per unit of energy it consumes. In Australia, this is calculated on an annual energy efficiency ratio, or AEER. On domestic air conditioners, a label shows the energy rating with stars; a unit can have between one and 10 stars, in half-star increments — the more stars the greater the efficiency.