A brief air conditioner history:
On July 17, 1902, Willis Carrier invented what is recognized as the world’s first modern air conditioning system. Due to quality problems at the publishing and printing company, Carrier designed a system that could control temperature, humidity, and circulate air. From the industrial environment, the air conditioner expanded in application to the residential home and the automobile.
The air conditioner was a world paradigm shifting technology that turned what was considered largely uninhabitable land or environment, into habitable and desirable locations. The air conditioner is largely credited for mass migration to the Sun Belt, turning swamp or desert land into real estate gold.
How does your air conditioner work?:
The air conditioner uses basic refrigeration cycle. The refrigerant as a vapor enters a compressor where it compressed and pumped through a condenser. The condenser (which is typically on the outside of the building) cools the compressed refrigerant by blowing or circulating air around the condenser coils. The refrigerant which is now a liquid is pumped through an expansion valve where the refrigerant abruptly expands due to the reduction in pressure on the evaporator side. The evaporator (typically found in the air handler) cools the air by blowing air across the evaporator heat exchanger now cooled by the liquid refrigerant. As the refrigerant gets pumped through the heat exchanger and warms up, the refrigerant returns to a vapor state and is routed back to the compressor.
Today’s modern air conditioner may fail for many reasons:
- Loss of refrigerant.
- Electrical power loss.
- Damage to the compressor.
- Fan or blower failure.
- Failure of major electrical components such as the start capacitor for the fan or compressor.
- Failure of the evaporator condensate water drain system.
- Thermostat control failure.
- Compressor over-temperature sensor, or other thermocouple or temperature sensor failure.
Some tips to prevent air conditioner failure:
- Follow all warnings and instructions for the air conditioner.
- Replace or clean all air filters in the time periods recommended.
- Depending on home and age of duct works, duct cleaning may be needed.
- Annual or periodic service and inspection by HVAC especially for those forced air systems used for both heating and cooling.
- For portable or window unit air conditioners stored on their sides, the unit may need to be vertical for some period of time before use.
ARCCA has the multi-discipline background to investigate HVAC equipment failures, fires, or incidents.