Air Conditioning Systems: Definition, Functions, and Components
Before you choose what air conditioning system is right for you, you need to know the types and functions of the options available to you. Do you want to cool just a few rooms in your house or the entire building? What are the cost differences and energy efficiencies of each kind of system?
Your needs will determine what you choose, so you’ll need a good idea of what’s out there. So, let’s look into the six main different types of AC available and how you can determine what is right for you.
What are the different types of air conditioning systems?
There are six main types of air conditioning systems—central system, ductless (or mini-split), hybrid system, window unit, portable unit, and geothermal system. Here is a quick overview and description of each type—
• Central air conditioning system—is either split or single, packaged units. For a split system, one unit (consisting of the compressor, condenser, and fan) is placed outdoors, and an evaporator unit is placed above the furnace indoors. All the primary components are contained in one outdoor unit with a single, packaged unit. For either split or single systems, a duct system runs through the exterior walls and roof of the house, drawing in the air to be conditioned before redistributing the air back through the house.
• Ductless or mini-split air conditioning system—works very similarly to the split central AC systems, just without the ducts drawing air from every room in the house. Because of the ductless nature of these systems, they are only effective at cooling the air in one room.
• Hybrid air conditioning system—utilizes two energy sources, an electric pump and a fuel-run furnace, which can significantly save on money and energy. If these systems also include a heat pump, they are reversible and work in summer and winter by reversing the cooling process to draw warm air indoors.
• Window air conditioning system—consists of a single unit installed into a window frame or wall, with a single thermostat and the capacity to cool one room.
• Portable air conditioning units—function similarly to window units except that they are portable and can be moved from room to room.
• Geothermal air conditioning system—get their heat from the ground, with vertical coils buried deep in the ground or horizontal loops covering greater square footage, though still underground.
What are the respective functions of each type of air conditioning system?
So, what are the respective functions of each kind of air conditioning system more specifically? Of course, the basic function is to condition the air, either cool or heat it, and remove humidity, but what are a few of the specific pros and cons of each type?
• Central air conditioning system—is the most efficient of all the options available for consistently keeping your entire house at the desired temperature. They last a long time with proper servicing, cover large square footage of the house, and are dependably effective. They are not one of the cheaper options, but they are common and reliable.
• Ductless systems—are a good bit cheaper than central systems since no walls have to be torn down to insert ducts. They are a good choice if you only have a couple of rooms you want to keep air-conditioned. However, it would be costly to try to cool a whole house with a ductless system since you can only control the temperature of one room per system. It would require you to install a separate unit for each room.
• Hybrid air conditioning system—is economical on two levels since they save on electric energy and save on fuel-energy as it alternates between electric and gas to maintain the ideal temperature. So, while there may be a higher cost to install, it is very cost-effective to run in the long term.
• Window units—are one of the cheapest options available for air conditioning. However, they are not always the most effective method depending on your climate and can only condition the air of one room.
• Portable units—like window units, are much cheaper options if you need to air condition smaller spaces. Because it is portable, it may be a bit more effective than a window unit, but some models can take up a fair amount of floor space and can be cumbersome to move.
• Geothermal units—are by far the most expensive option available. However, they are also by far the longest lasting and most economical of all your options, pulling heat from the earth or redistributing your house’s heat back to the earth.
What are the respective components of each type of air conditioning system?
The basic components of the six types of AC systems are all the same. Most air conditioners all have a compressor, condenser coils, an evaporator coil, a fan or blower, an air-handling unit if the system is split, refrigeration pipes, air filters, electrical components, and a thermostat.
However, there are a few components that are specific to each type:
• Central systems also have air ducts and vents.
• Ductless systems can have heat pumps and reversible features to heat or cool air.
• Hybrid systems require a furnace and a heat pump.
• Portable units have an exhaust hose attached to the window or wall to return heat and moisture to the outdoors.
• Geothermal systems have extensive coil infrastructure in the ground and a pump to move heat from the ground to the house or from the house to the ground.
FAQs about Air Conditioning
What is the main purpose of air conditioning?
The main purpose of air conditioning is to cool indoor air by removing heat and humidity, and to transfer the excess heat and moisture back to the outdoors.
What is the average life of an air conditioner?
The average life of an AC system depends on your system type and if you keep it serviced throughout its life. These estimates assume that your system is well-maintained and regularly serviced.
• Central, Hybrid, and Ductless—10-15 years
• Window and Portable—7-10 years
• Geothermal—20+ years for the pump, and 50+ years for the underground infrastructure
How often should you have your air conditioning serviced?
So how often should you have your air conditioning system serviced to extend its lifetime to the fullest?
You should have your system serviced at least once a year, but ideally twice a year, in the spring and fall, before the weather changes, to ensure your system is ready, clean, and operating optimally in time for the next season.
When do you need an AC repair?
You should address your air conditioning system issues right away before small problems become big issues and your comfort is compromised. Issues with your AC can also drive up your electric bill significantly, so staying on top of maintenance and repairs will always be in your favor.
What are the common signs you need an AC repair?
A few warning signs that you need to have your AC repaired would be:
• Your ac is blowing warm air
• The thermostat doesn’t work
• Loud noises or strange smells coming from the system
• Little to no air blowing through the vents
• An unexplained rising of the electric bill
• Any water or refrigerant leaks
What are the hazards associated with a broken AC?
Thankfully, due to most AC’s electric nature, very rarely are there physical dangers when an AC unit needs repair. Unlike gas-powered systems (furnaces and boilers), AC units pose no more physical threat than any other electric appliance in your home. But, except for bad wiring or electrical shock, AC systems in need of repair don’t pose a danger to your safety but rather a threat to your budget and comfort.
With a system in need of repair, you could unexpectedly lose the temperature regulation in your house, making conditions in your home very uncomfortable. Ignoring an AC system in need of repair will also cost you much more in the long run, both in electricity, as your unit is forced to work much harder than it should and inexpensive repairs that could have been caught earlier. Of course, in not addressing an issue with your AC you also run the risk of a total breakdown of your system and the more costly option of replacing the whole thing.
How much does an AC repair normally cost in Waldorf?
The repair cost for AC systems in Waldorf all depends on the issue. Minor to average repairs can cost from $100-$350, while major issues may cost upwards of $600-$900. You will be able to save on those costly repairs, however, by keeping up with your air conditioning system’s regular services and always keeping it well-maintained.
Why are Heating Services Important?
Why are services for your heating system important, and when do you know if you need to call someone to have yours inspected or repaired? Are there advantages to having your heating system regularly serviced? And what can you expect to be included in a routine heating service?
Let’s start with knowing that you need to get your heating system serviced.
What are the most common signs you need heating services?
You don’t want to ignore issues with your heating system when you begin to notice something is off–because you could spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repairs and replacements if you don’t catch problems with your heating system early on. So what are the warning signs and common issues that alert you to the need to have your heating system serviced?
• Your home isn’t getting warm enough, or there is uneven heat distribution
• Your electric or energy bill is rising
• Strange sounds or smells coming from the system
• Unusually dusty air ducts or filters
• Carbon monoxide detector going off
• Compressor constantly running and never cycling off
The presence of one or more of these common indicators of heater malfunction is a reason to get your heating system serviced as soon as possible.
What do heating services include?
So, you notice a problem or issue with your heating system, or maybe it’s just time to have your heating system checked for routine maintenance. Whatever the case, what all will be included in your heating service?
Heating and Air Conditioning services for heating cover a wide array of inspections and tests of the whole heating system, either to find an issue or to prevent future problems. They will inspect the vent system and grilles of the furnace, examine the blowers or fans, check the heat exchanger for damage or erosion, and check and lubricate the blower’s motor, bearings, and any other moving parts. A heater service will include a tension test of the fan belt and a possible adjustment, voltage and current checks, tightening any loose electrical connections, testing the exhaust system, inspecting and cleaning the burner, and inspecting ignition pressure and gas and oil lines. Services should also include:
- An air filter change
- A test of system controls
- Calibration of the thermostat
- An inspection of the safety shut-off features
Every aspect of your heating system should be checked and inspected for issues, either to catch the potential problems before they become big problems or to fix what might already need repairing.
What are the advantages of getting regular heating services?
The advantages of getting regular services for heating are well worth the cost of having them done. May it be for safety or savings, you have every reason to make maintaining your heating systems a priority. A few of the most significant advantages are:
• Saving energy. A broken, old, or neglected heating system has to work harder and harder to heat your house, burning more and more fuel or electricity just to function normally. This in turn, causes your expenses, either in fuel or electricity, to rise. Regular services help your heating system work optimally, keeping running costs low.
• Better air quality. A properly functioning and well-maintained heating system will keep your air clean and safe.
• Safety. Fuel-burning systems like furnaces and boilers can be dangerous if their upkeep is neglected too long. A very important reason to have your system maintained regularly is your basic safety in the home.
• Reliable comfort. Regular heating system services ensure that you can depend on your heating to provide comfort year-round. It reduces the likelihood of sudden breakdowns and the discomfort of an unevenly heated house.
• Extended life. Maintaining your heating system with regular services can significantly extend the life of your system. There will be fewer major repairs or sudden costs, and your heating will be able to last.
Is Hiring an Heating and Air Conditioning Company Worth the Expense?
What does an Heating and Air Conditioning contractor do?
A contractor for Heating and Conditioning does everything that a heating service does, in addition to repair work, installation, and appraisals. A contractor will inspect and test every heating system component, from blowers and belts, to gas pressure and voltage currents. They lubricate all moving parts and check for damage or erosion. They inspect safety features, the furnace vent system, and clean and check the burner.
They should also be able to assess the damage or condition of your heater and the estimated cost to repair it.
What should you look for when hiring an Heating and Air Conditioning contractor?
Hiring a contractor to fix or inspect your heating system is an important decision. You need to be sure the contractor you hire is licensed and knowledgeable to be confident they know what they are doing and can do it right. There are a few things to look for in a contractor to ensure that you hire someone reputable and knowledgeable:
• Licensed. All Heating and AC contractors MUST be licensed and certified. Be sure to research their certifications, degrees, and any past apprenticeships to ensure your contractor is licensed to practice.
• Reviews. Look for past clients’ feedback or reviews, and get an idea of the contractor’s overall reputation. You’ll want to know about the quality of their work, their ability to be communicative, and their customer service.
• Availability. This has more to do with your preference than anything else, but you will want to know your contractor’s availability to work for you and their rates.
• Competitive rates. Speaking of rates, don’t hire the cheapest contractor. You get what you pay for, and when it comes to heating systems, you want a professional and ought to be willing to pay for competitive professional services.
• Transparency. You are going to want a contractor who is open and honest about your heating system services, doesn’t make assumptions about your heating issues before inspection, and can give you a good estimate for the work needed to repair your heating system.
How much does a contractor normally charge for Heating and AC services?
How much can you expect to spend on services for your heating system? Well, it all depends. The main factors will include the contractor’s hourly rate and the parts needed to repair your heater. The contractor’s hourly rate varies anywhere from $75-$200/hr, including the technician’s fee, travel costs, and service value. The cost of the repairs depends on the size of the issue being fixed, although a good average could be anywhere from $150-$450.
The Local Leader in Residential Heating & Air Conditioning Services!
Does your home always feel too hot or too cold? Are you seeing rising energy bills? It’s time to call Mission Comfort! We proudly offer the best residential Heating and Cooling services in the area, and we’re here to keep your home as clean and efficient as possible. Don’t put up with a faulty furnace or weak air conditioner any longer—let our crew of friendly, experienced technicians get you fixed up in no time. We provide a wide range of Heating and Cooling services, including repairs and maintenance for boilers, furnaces, air conditioners, and more.
Both indoor temperature and humidity can make a big difference in how comfortable you are in your home. If your furnace doesn’t seem to do a good job heating your space, or your AC can’t compete with the summer temps, Mission Comfort is here for you. Having a well-maintained Heating and Air Conditioning system can make your life so much easier, and reduce your energy bills too! We can take care of your furnace, air conditioner, or boiler, whether you need routine maintenance to maximize your efficiency or it’s time for repairs or replacements. You and your family deserve to live in a home that’s relaxing and comfortable, and we can help.
Contact Us Today for Residential Services
There are plenty of residential Heating and Air Conditioning technicians in this area, but you won’t find another with the reliability, friendliness, and commitment to customer satisfaction as Mission Comfort. No matter what kind of heating or cooling issue you’re dealing with, we can handle it. It’s easy to schedule your service appointments online, and we offer emergency appointments as well. Reach out to us today when you’re ready to finally feel good at home again!