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Learn Important Terms for HVAC Cooling Season

Learn Important Terms for HVAC Cooling Season | SherlockIf you experience cooling system troubles this season, you’ll have an easier time describing the problem and understanding the diagnosis and remedy your technician recommends if you know some relevant HVAC terminology. We’ve put together a list of frequently-used cooling-specific HVAC terms that can help.

  • SEER — This is an acronym for the efficiency rating given to cooling equipment, and it stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. It gives you the ratio of the equipment’s cooling output divided by its energy usage over one season. Numerical SEER ratings increase as efficiency improves, so higher-rated equipment is more efficient.
  • Capacity — Also referred to as cooling capacity, this tells you how much heat the equipment moves in one hour’s time. The common capacity measurement is a “ton,” which is 12,000 Btu of heat.
  • Refrigerant — This is the chemical compound used as a heat transfer mechanism in a cooling system. It gets pumped through the refrigerant lines and coils in a closed, continuous loop and transforms from liquid to gas form to absorb and release heat.
  • Air handler — The indoor portion of a split-system A/C or heat pump, the air handler houses several key cooling components including the evaporator, air filter, blower and condensate drain system.
  • Evaporator — Also called the cooling coil, this is where heat absorption occurs. Refrigerant enters the coil as a chilled liquid, then converts into a gas as it pulls heat energy from the indoor air.
  • Blower — This fan pulls stale indoor air in from the return ductwork, draws it over the coil for cooling, then circulates freshly-cooled air out through your home via the supply ducts.
  • Compressor — Your outdoor unit houses this vital component that pressurizes and pumps refrigerant through the system’s loop of copper lines and coils.
  • Condenser — Also situated in the outdoor unit is the condenser coil that’s responsible for expelling captured heat into the outdoor air. Refrigerant enters the coil as a hot gas and releases the heat it contains as it transforms back into a liquid.

To learn more cooling season HVAC terms, contact the San Diego home comfort pros at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater
area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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Learn the 7 Components Crucial for Air Conditioner Function

Learn the 7 Components Crucial for Air Conditioner FunctionAn air conditioner is invaluable for getting through the hot San Diego and Encinitas summers comfortably. Because your A/C is so important, it’s worth taking the time to get familiar with how it works. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to plan maintenance, component replacements and upgrades.

  1. Evaporator coil – Located in or near your indoor air handler, this component receives cold refrigerant from the expansion valve. As the refrigerant flows through the coil, it absorbs heat from the passing air.
  2. Blower fan – This large fan inside the air handler draws air over the evaporator coil to be cooled, then blows the cooled air into the air ducts and out into your rooms.
  3. Air filter – Before entering the ductwork, air passes through a filter that removes contaminants such as lint and pollen. Filters that carry a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 4 or less protect your system from debris, but filters with MERVs of 5 to 11 also improve your indoor air quality. The filter must be changed on schedule to ensure sufficient airflow and system efficiency.
  4. Compressor – This pump moves refrigerant through copper tubing from the evaporator coil to the outdoor condenser coil. It also raises the refrigerant’s pressure and temperature.
  5. Condenser coil – As refrigerant passes through this coil, located in your outdoor unit, it releases the heat it absorbed from your house into the outdoor air. It then flows back indoors and into the expansion valve, which relieves pressure on the refrigerant and thereby cools it.
  6. Condenser unit fan – This fan blows outdoor air over the condenser coil to cool the refrigerant faster. To help this fan run efficiently, keep your outdoor unit’s exterior free of debris such as dead leaves.
  7. Thermostat – Installed on a wall in your home, this component controls how often the air conditioner runs based on the temperature you select. A programmable thermostat can automatically change the temperature setting based on a schedule you set in advance.

For more help getting to know your air conditioner, contact us at Sherlock Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning anywhere in the San Diego, Encinitas, Oceanside and Poway areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Troubleshooting Tips for a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner

Troubleshooting Tips for a Malfunctioning Air ConditionerWith the summer heat around San Diego and San Marcos, a problem with your air conditioner can quickly leave you very uncomfortable. Knowing how to troubleshoot your A/C will help you get it running again or let you provide your technician with useful information about what might be wrong.

Free Up the Airflow

Poor airflow is a common cause of heating and cooling system malfunctions. It can impair the system’s performance and even shut down the system entirely. First, check your air filter and, if it’s covered in dust, put in a clean one. Next, clear out your air registers and vents. Remove the covers and vacuum out the insides of the ducts as far as you can reach. Wash the covers with mild detergent, then dry and replace them.

Finally, take a look at your outdoor condenser unit. If it’s plastered in grass clippings and leaves, shut down your system and use a stiff brush to clean the unit’s fins. Then remove the top and wash down the fins by directing a stream of water from a hose from the inside of the unit outward.

Inspect Your Components

If your condensate drain pump isn’t working, your air conditioner might shut itself off for safety reasons. Test your drain by pouring in a cup of water. If the pump doesn’t start up, either the float switch is stuck or the pump has failed. If you’re comfortable working with mechanical equipment, you might be able to open the pump and free the stuck float switch. Otherwise, contact an HVAC technician.

If your system runs, but can’t maintain an even, comfortable temperature, your thermostat could be the one to blame. Inside your thermostat is a small dial called the heat anticipator. If your A/C is cycling on and off too frequently, move the small arm on the dial one calibration mark toward the “longer” mark. If your system never produces the right temperature, move the arm away from the “longer” mark.

For more information on maintaining your air conditioner, check out Sherlock Heating and Air.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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