Air conditioning is more complex and difficult than heating. The latter simply harnesses energy to produce heat, whereas an Air conditioner uses energy to extract heat from the climate.Tafoya Mechanical is a top Denver air conditioning company. We are familiar with all cooling systems and can service, repair, or install them anywhere in the greater Denver metro. Call for a free quote today!
The most popular air conditioning type uses a compressor cycle (similar to your refrigerator) to extract heat from your home and move it to the outdoors. Imagine your house as a fridge. There's a compressor filled with a special fluid called a refrigerant. This fluid will move between liquid and gas. As it changes, it absorbs or releases heat, so it is used to "carry" heat from one location to another.
An air conditioning system becomes more complicated with all the controls and valves involved, but, amazingly, it works! Air conditioning seems to defy the laws of thermodynamics, taking heat from a less-warm spot and moving it to a warmer spot! Of course, what drives the process is electricity—a lot of it. Some AC types are more energy efficient than others, of course: see the section below about Energy Star ratings and SEER rating.
Central cooling systems use ducts to supply air in the building. Usually, these are two-part systems with an outdoor unit containing compressor and condenser coils, and an indoor unit with evaporator coils. Refrigerant lines connect both. Thermostats allow you to control your climate settings.
Central AC and heat pumps cool the whole building. A large compressor unit outside drives the process in each system; an indoor coil filled with refrigerant cools air is then circulated throughout the house through ducts. Heat pumps are like central air conditioners, but the cycle can be reversed and heated in winter months. The same duct system is used with a central air-conditioner for forced heating. The central air conditioner typically uses the furnace fan to convey air to the ducts.
A heat pump offers an alternative to central air conditioning. In winter, heat pumps
collect heat from the air (or in the case of ground source heat pumps, from the earth), and spread it through the building. In summer, they operate in reverse by removing and transmitting heat from the air inside the house.
For central air conditioning to function effectively, your HVAC technician can perform a load measurement on your home to determine the correct installation device size. An undersized device won't cool your house.
Central AC units and cooling air-source heat pumps are classified according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER is Btu's seasonal cooling production separated by watt-hour seasonal energy input for a "normal" U.S. atmosphere. Central air conditioners often have an energy efficiency ratio (EER), to demonstrate energy efficiency performance at higher temperatures. ENERGY STAR qualified models must achieve an EER rating of 12 or higher.
Evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers
, are less popular than vapor compression (refrigerant) AC systems. They work by pulling fresh air through moist pads, where evaporation cools the air. The cooler air circulates within a home. An evaporative cooler can lower outdoor air temperature up to 30 degrees. They can save up to 75% on summer cooling costs because the only mechanical part that uses electricity is the fan. Plus, since the technology is simpler, upfront cost can be as little as 50% of that of central AC.
A direct evaporative cooler
adds moisture to a home. An indirect evaporative cooler is slightly different as water evaporation happens on one side of a heat exchanger. House air is pushed across the heat exchanger's other side where it cools down but doesn't pick up moisture. With increasing humidity, both forms begin to lose their effectiveness, as humid air is less able to hold additional moisture. Given that Denver is fairly dry, we don't have anything to worry about in this regard!
Ductless systems can be an alternative for Denver houses and apartments. These systems have both outdoor and indoor units, require less indoor space and are faster to install than central systems.
The advantages of ductless AC
include quieter operation, even temperature distribution, and zoned power. With individual units in various spaces, you can save energy by switching off units in non-use rooms. Additionally, each family member can customize the temperature in their room, keeping everyone in the family happy and relaxed. By having dedicated units for each space, it is easier to meet different room comfort needs. This temperature zoning
can save you up to 40% on your utility bills because you're not trying to keep every space to the same standard!
Since ductless systems are, well, ductless, you'll even enjoy improved air quality
without the dust and debris in ductwork. This means less maintenance as no duct cleaning is needed. Mini-split systems, which are very common in other countries, can be an attractive retrofit choice for room additions and homes without ducts, such as those using hydronic heat. Like regular Air conditioning units, mini-splits use compressor/condenser and air handling systems outside. The difference is that each room or zone has its own air handler. Each indoor unit is connected to the outdoor unit through a duct carrying power and coolant lines. Indoor units are usually wall or ceiling mounted.
Mini-splits' primary drawback is expense. They cost even more than a standard central air conditioner of the same scale, (if you don't factor in the cost of installing ductwork). But given the cost and energy losses associated with installing new ductwork for a central air conditioner, buying a ductless mini-split might not be such a bad deal, particularly considering long-term energy savings. Speak to your Denver HVAC contractor about what alternative will be more cost-effective for you.
If you need emergency AC repair
, AC maintenance, AC installation, or other Air conditioning services anywhere in the greater Denver metro, call Tafoya Mechanical today!
We also provide commercial HVAC
and commercial air conditioning
services for Denver businesses and facilities.