Terms About Air Conditioning Equipment and Systems
During the hot and humid seasons, having a well functioning air conditioning system is critical to keeping the home or office cool and comfortable. Whether you are having an air conditioning system installed by a contractor or are planning to repair one yourself, there are a few key terms to help you understand what to explore when considering your options:
SEER: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Air conditioning manufacturers are legally required to evaluate the energy efficiency of the models they produce. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient. The highest rating is 18, and is also the most expensive.
Window Air Conditioning Unit: An air conditioning unit small enough to fit inside a standard window frame. Window units provide air refrigeration for a small space.
Split-System Air Conditioning Unit: An air conditioning unit for large spaces, such as warehouses or whole office buildings. The massive unit is split into two sections; the cold side and the hot side. The cold side is comprised of the cold coil, expansion valve and furnace, which channel cold air via a series of ducts throughout the space. The hot side or the condensing unit, is outside the building, generally on the roof.
Chilled Water AC System: A system wherein the AC unit is installed either behind the building or on the roof. Rather than using a refrigerant, it chills water to approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit and pipes that water through the building, blowing the cold air through air handlers.
Portable Air Conditioners: Wheel mounted refrigerant or evaporative air conditioning systems that can be transported from room to room.
Dehumidifiers: A humidity controlling thermal comfort system that operates similarly to an air conditioning system without the cooling effect. The water vapor from the air is condensed by an evaporator coil, but the condenser coil is placed in the same path, warming the processed air.