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Central Air Conditioning or Central Air

Despite all of the technological advancements since Willis Carrier built the first air chiller in 1902, air conditioning systems still fall victim to HOT AIR.

How AC Works

Today, split system central air conditioning is the most prevalent form of "air conditioning" in use by homeowners and commercial building owners. This type of "AC" system is characterized by these main features: copper tubing filled with refrigerant gas with most of the tubing gathered at either end into what are called condensing coils. Aluminum fins welded to the copper tubing facilitate heat exchange as air is blown through the coils. The "split" is in reference to the configuration of the coils -- one set placed outdoors so that the system can cool the refrigerant; a second set is placed somewhere within the system ducting to cool air as it is blown into the building.

Engineers measure the rate of heat exchange in terms of 'heat flux'. In the case of your air conditioner, heat flux is most efficient when outdoor (ambient) air temperature is lower than the refrigerant inside the coils.

The ideal outdoor temperature for split system air conditioning is at or below 85 deg-F. Efficient heat exchange becomes increasingly difficult when the ambient air temperature rises above 95 deg-F. According to HVAC industry documentation, for every 1 deg-F over 95 deg-F, the split system air conditioner loses about 1.5% efficiency (see Scientific Analysis for more information).

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