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Air ConditioningThe typical central air conditioner removes heat from inside the home and releases it outside the home. Air conditioners work onthe basic physical law that heat moves to areas that are cooler. Heat from the interior of the home is transferred to a refrigerant that carries the heat to the exterior of the home. The most common refrigerant is freon, Actually, an air conditioner is very similar to another appliance in your home -- the refrigerator. Air conditioners don't have the exterior housing a refrigerator relies on to insulate its cold box. Instead, the walls in your home keep cold air in and hot air out.

Air Conditioning Cycle

Early commercial applications of air conditioning were manufactured to cool air for industrial processing rather than personal coolness. In 1902 the first modern electrical air conditioning was by Willis Carrier in Syracuse, New York. Designed to improve manufacturing process control in a printing plant, his invention controlled not only temperature but also humidity. The low heat and humidity were to help maintain consistent paper dimensions and ink alignment. Later Carrier's technology was applied to increase productivity in the workplace, andCarrier Corporation was formed to meet rising demand. Over time air conditioning came to be used to improve coolness in homes and vehicles. Residential sales expanded dramatically in the 1950s.

Energy Star RatingHeating and cooling costs the average homeowner about $1,000 a year - nearly half the home's total energy bill. If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified model could cut your cooling costs by 30%. The central air conditioner also needs a blower motor - which is usually part of the furnace - to blow the cool air through the duct system. The only way to ensure that your new air conditioner performs at its rated efficiency is to replace your heating system at the same time. It's especially recommended if your furnace is over 15 years old. If you purchase a new energy-efficient air conditioner but connect it to an older furnace and blower motor, your system will not perform to its rated efficiency.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating

The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output in BTU's (British thermal unit) during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input in watt-hours during the same period. The higher the unit's SEER rating the more energy efficient it is.


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