Design Comfort Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Air Conditioning’

What Do the Coils in an AC Do?

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Each component of your air conditioner plays a role that helps achieve the cooling you need from your AC. Two components we are going to focus on right now are the coils.

There are two sets of coils in your air conditioning system: one set is in the condenser and the other set is in the evaporator. Both sets are needed for the heat release/cooling process, and while they do similar jobs, they do not do the same job. Since 1982, Design Comfort has helped customers with their air conditioning repairs, so if you are experiencing problems with your AC, call us today.

What Are the Coils?

The coils in your system are comprised of narrow, serpentine copper tubing that is protected by thin, metal fins (usually made of aluminum). Each set of coils has a job:

  • Condenser coils – as the hot, high-pressure refrigerant flows into the condenser coils in the outside unit, the heat from the refrigerant is released into the outdoor air with the help of the condenser fan. By the time the refrigerant reaches the end of the condenser coils and starts its journey into the evaporator coils, the refrigerant has cooled and returned to a liquid state.
  • Evaporator coils – the refrigerant in the evaporator coils is a cool gas. In this state, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the warm air blown over the coils by the indoor blower. As the heat is absorbed by the refrigerant in the coils, the air is chilled and blown into your home through supply ducts.

Common Problems of Coils

There are several common problems technicians see with AC coils:

  • Refrigerant leaks – refrigerant leaks inside coils are common, but their repair can be complex. It’s important that all refrigerant leaks are repaired as soon as possible, as low refrigerant can cause a lot of different problems with your system.
  • Dirty coils – it is common for dirt and dust to cling to your coils, but if a layer develops, it can act as insulation and disrupt the heat release/cooling process of your system.
  • Bent fins – the metal fins surrounding the coils are very easily bent. When too many are bent, air flow can be restricted, which affects your whole system. Bent fins can be fixed by purchasing and using a fin comb that straightens out the bent fins.

The coils in your AC may be smaller than other parts of your system, but if there are problems with either set, you can experience system-wide problems. One of the best ways to ensure your coils are working well is with bi-annual maintenance. If you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your air conditioner, fall is a great time to set up an appointment. Call Design Comfort today and schedule your fall air conditioning maintenance in Salt Lake City – your coils will thank you!

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Ways You Can Upgrade Your Current Air Conditioning System

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Upgrades to your current air conditioning system can improve and enhance your system’s energy efficiency, indoor air quality and overall comfort level. There are many different types of upgrades from which to choose, and each offers its own benefits for your air conditioning. Since 1982, Design Comfort has helped Salt Lake City customers get the most from their air conditioners in Salt Lake City, and we can do the same for you.

There Are a Number of Different Upgrades to Consider For Your Air Conditioning System

Zone Control System

Do you hear constant complaints about it being too hot or too cold? Do you want better control over your cooling? A zone control system can help you with these issues and more. With a zone control system, individual motorized dampers are installed directly into your ductwork. Each damper is attached to, and controlled by, its own thermostat. Through a central control panel, you control these thermostats as per your zone plan. A zone can be separate rooms or separate floors in your home – you decide. Zone control systems allow you to cool only what needs to be cooled, helping to improve both comfort and energy efficiency all at the same time.

Air Cleaners

Are you experiencing problems with your indoor air quality? Do you just want to improve it? Air cleaners can help reduce allergens dramatically, and an air purifier like UV germicidal lighting can destroy biological pollutants. Our air cleaners are for whole-home use, and as such, become part of your air conditioning system. There are a number of types of air cleaners available, which is why speaking to a trained professional is strongly suggested.

Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)

Imagine taking the energy from your indoor air and using it to be more energy efficient. You can do just that with an energy recovery ventilator. How? An energy recovery ventilator is a ventilation system that exchanges your indoor air with the outdoor air while using the energy from the outgoing air to pre-cool (or pre-heat) the incoming air. This happens in the heat exchanger, which is the core of the ERV. The energy streams don’t mix, but are close enough to each other to be able to exchange energy. ERVs can help tremendously with energy efficiency and maintaining excellent indoor air quality.

As you can see, there are a number of different upgrades you can make to your air conditioner to help with energy efficiency and comfort. Think you may benefit from an upgrade to your air conditioning? Call Design Comfort today and speak with one of our professionals and set up your air conditioning upgrades in Salt Lake City.

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3 Common Repairs for Air Conditioning

Friday, July 18th, 2014

During the summer, it’s common for homeowners to need repairs on their air conditioning systems. Your AC works hard all summer long, so it’s not surprising if something in your system becomes worn or needs repair sooner than expected. The air conditioning experts at Design Comfort have put together this list of three of the most common air conditioning repairs in Salt Lake City.

Refrigerant Leaks

Your air conditioner needs a constant level of refrigerant in order to run properly. The refrigerant in your AC absorbs the heat from inside of your home and releases it outdoors. The refrigerant itself will never dissipate, so any loss of refrigerant is usually due to a leak somewhere in your system. Signs that you may have a refrigerant leak include a loss of cooling power and a hissing sound. Only AC technicians are qualified to handle refrigerant and repair leaks.

Failing Compressor

The compressor is a vital part of your AC system. As refrigerant reaches the compressor, it is a low-pressure gas. The compressor changes it into a high-pressure gas so that it can give off heat at the condenser coil and make its way through the rest of the system. There are many things that may go wrong with your compressor. There may be a loose electrical connection causing the compressor to malfunction. But if your air conditioning is hard starting, struggling to turn on and off, you may have a serious repair issue.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

Another common repair need for air conditioning systems is a frozen evaporator coil. As a fan blows warm air over the evaporator coil, refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas and absorbs the heat. If your home is not receiving cool air, it may be because the evaporator coil has frozen and heat exchange is ineffective. The coil often freezes because of a dirty air filter, so make sure you change your air filter about once a month. However, you should still call a technician to see if a frozen coil has led to damage in other parts of your system.

For more information or to schedule repairs for your air conditioning system in Salt Lake City, talk to the experts at Design Comfort today!

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Improvements You Can Make to Your Air Conditioner

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Your air conditioning thermostat puts the cooling power in your hands, letting you adjust the temperature to whatever will be most comfortable and keep your energy bills manageable. You may not be aware, however, that there are even more ways to control the temperature in your home to make your family happy and your savings high.

Digital, Programmable Thermostats

A manual thermostat with dials and sliders may not be the best way to ensure the temperature in your home is what you’d like it to be. These models can be difficult to read and it may be difficult to gauge whether the temperature you’ve selected is accurate. If you still have a manual thermostat, you might consider a digital thermostat with a clear display for increased accuracy.

Many digital thermostats are programmable. You can set your AC to turn on and off when you will be home so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on all day. Similarly, you can set the temperature higher or lower at certain times of the day to save energy. One of the newest upgrades available for air conditioning systems today is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from a computer or mobile device with internet access, and can also learn users’ preferences to predict usage patterns.

Zone Control

For even greater temperature control, another improvement is zone control, which allows you to vary the temperature in different areas throughout the house. Different family members may want a different temperature setting in the rooms they occupy throughout the day. With zone control, a technician installs dampers in your ducts that open and close via individual thermostats installed in each room or zone or with a master thermostat that controls each zone.

Zone control can help to reduce your energy bill every month as well. You can save energy, for example, by turning off the air upstairs when all of your family members are seated in the downstairs living room.

At Design Comfort, we install zone control systems and offer digital and programmable thermostats, including smart thermostats. If you want improved performance and efficiency for your air conditioning system in Salt Lake City this summer, call now!

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How Does Zone Control Work for Centralized Air Conditioners?

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to set different temperatures throughout your home to achieve the best comfort level? Or thought how great it would be to turn the AC off in rooms or parts of your home that don’t get used very much? Zone control systems can do these things and more for your air conditioning in Salt Lake City.

What Is a Zone Control System?

A zone control system is a system of motorized dampers placed into the air ducts of your property. Each damper is connected to a thermostat, which establishes the “zones” for your cooling. With these individual thermostats, you can control the cooling of each zone independently of one another instead of having your entire home controlled by a single-set thermostat.

What Are the Benefits of a Zone Control System?

There are several benefits to adding a zone control system to your air conditioner:

  • Increased efficiency – a zone control system allows you to cool only the spaces that need it; for spaces that are unoccupied, you can turn off the AC to that room entirely. This can help you save energy and money.
  • Better comfort – does the single-set thermostat in your home leave some people cold and others warm? With a zone control system, individual rooms can be set to the exact temperature you want without affecting the rest of your home. This helps increase comfort levels and eliminates uneven hot and cold spots that can be created by single-set thermostats.
  • Great for variable architecture – if you have vaulted ceilings or a wall of windows, your cooling load for that particular space is probably different from the rest of your home, possibly making it challenging to keep it the same temperature as the rest of your property. With a zone control system, this type of challenge is no longer a problem, as the space can be cooled separately from the rest of your property.

Is a Zone Control System Right for You?

There are great benefits to installing a zone control system to your air conditioning system, but the best way to assess if a zone control system will work for your air conditioner is to consult with a Design Comfort expert, so give us a call today and schedule air conditioning service in Salt Lake City!

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Air Conditioning Problems Caused by Low Refrigerant

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Refrigerant is the chemical in your air conditioning system that makes it possible to cool the indoor air. Refrigerant can do this because it can easily turn from a liquid to a gas and back again, all within the closed system of your air conditioner. The interesting thing is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner doesn’t deplete; it was designed to stay at a set amount for the life of the air conditioner. As such, the only ways refrigerant can run low in an air conditioning system are: a) the amount of refrigerant put into the system during installation was incorrect or; b) there is a leak. In either case, your air conditioning system needs the help of a trained professional, so call the ones to trust: Design Comfort.

AC Problems Caused by Refrigerant Leaks

Several problems can arise from a low refrigerant level and all can cause operational issues with your air conditioning system. Therefore, it is always advisable to repair a refrigerant leak as soon as possible. Here are some of the more common problems our experts at Design Comfort have encountered when dealing with low refrigerant:

  • Warm air – when your system is low on refrigerant, there isn’t enough of the chemical in the system to correctly execute the heat release and cooling process necessary for cooling the air. The result can be warm air blowing into your property.
  • Icing – low refrigerant causes an imbalance in the system. When your system forms ice, the parts that are supposed to be hot are too hot and not cooling off properly; conversely, the cool parts are too cold because they aren’t warming up as they should. These two very disparate air temperatures meet in the air conditioner and create condensation – but because the cool parts are too cold, the condensation quickly turns from water to ice.
  • Air conditioner won’t start – some systems have a built-in safety switch that turns on when the refrigerant goes too low. If your air conditioner is equipped with this kind of safety switch, don’t try and force your AC to turn on; call a technician to inspect your system.

Call an Expert for Refrigerant Repairs

Finding a refrigerant leak isn’t easy, and handling refrigerant requires training. The bottom line: fixing a refrigerant leak isn’t a DIY kind of job. If you are seeing signs your air conditioner may be low on refrigerant, call Design Comfort today and schedule an appointment for your air conditioning repair service in Salt Lake City.

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Should I Replace My Thermostat When Upgrading My Air Conditioner?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

When you have new installation for air conditioning in Bountiful, UT, you don’t necessarily have to change your current thermostat. The installers can connect the new AC system to the older control panel, and you can continue to control your cooling system the way you always have. But if your thermostat is the same age as the air conditioner that you’re replacing, then it is a smart idea to replace the thermostat during new installation with an upgraded model.

Our Design Comfort air conditioning installation team knows as much about thermostats as they do about fitting a new AC into your home. If you want to an up-to-date thermostat as part of the new air conditioning installation job, you can arrange they job with us.

Why a Thermostat Upgrade Is a Wise Choice with AC Installation

The advances in thermostat technology have mirrored those in HVAC technology. If your old thermostat is a manual model with sliders and dials, then you should definitely upgrade to a digital model. A digital thermostat can reach more precise temperature settings, and this will mean an improvement in comfort and energy savings. Digital models also have easy to read displays that will make it simpler for you to set and understand the temperature.

But there are even superior upgrades than going digital. Programmable thermostats allow you to control when the AC turns on and off even when you aren’t home. This is about more than convenience: a programmable thermostat will save power because you won’t need to keep an air conditioner running all day just so you can come home to a cool house. Instead, you can keep the AC turned off and saving power until the thermostat activates it a half hour before you come home.

The newest innovation in thermostats is the “smart” thermostat. These units permit homeowners to control them wirelessly from mobile devices or computers anywhere they have an Internet or satellite connection. Smart thermostats also learn a homeowner’s air conditioning comfort control patterns, and develop their own pattern to provide a house with cooling that best matches the owner’s needs while also saving energy.

Choosing the New Thermostat

In general, replacing a thermostat as part of AC installation is an excellent idea. You can upgrade to better technology, and you will have a system that is specially fit to your new air conditioner. To decide which new thermostat you should have installed, call professionals who can provide a range of options for thermostat replacement.

Our technicians at Design Comfort handle thermostat installation, repair, and maintenance services. Call us for installing air conditioning systems in Bountiful, UT and also for installation of a new top-of-the-line thermostat.

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3 Causes of Low Air Flow in Your AC Unit

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

When it comes to comfort from an air conditioning system, it isn’t only cooling power that’s necessary to keep you cool. The air conditioner must be able to blow out enough of that conditioned air through your vents to provide an even spread of lower temperatures through your home. If you notice that the flow of air from the vents has dropped, something is wrong and you should contact specialists to look into it.

When you need repairs for your air conditioning in Millcreek, UT, pick up the phone and call Design Comfort right away. You can trust our trained staff with all your home comfort concerns.

3 reasons you might experience low airflow

  1. Clogged filter: This is one of the more common troubles that can afflict an air conditioner, and fortunately it is one that you can easily prevent. The filter is designed to catch outside particles that enter the return vents and stop them from entering the AC’s cabinet. If the filter isn’t changed often enough, it will catch enough debris that it will start to cut off the flow into the AC, and that will cut down on the flow out of the AC as well. Along with lowering airflow a clogged air filter will force the system to work harder and could trigger icing across the coils. Change the filter once a month to prevent this from happening; should serious trouble start, call for repairs.
  2. Blower fan malfunction: The blower fan in the air conditioner’s air handler send air from the return vents across the evaporator coil and then into the ventilation system. This is the work horse of airflow, so if the fan malfunctions because of a broken motor or mechanical problem, you’ll need to have trained repairs to restore it and your airflow.
  3. Broken ductwork: The ducts that carry the air from the air handler to the rooms must maintain a tight seal along their length so they will not lose air pressure. It only takes a small hole of gap between sections to lead to a drop in the air pressure that will result in lowered airflow from the vents. Breaks need professional indoor air quality technicians to repair and seal them (no, duct tape isn’t the answer) not only to restore the AC’s airflow, but to protect the ducts from dust and debris contamination.

Call for the right repair technicians

Because a drop in airflow can come from either problems in the air conditioning or the ductwork, make sure that when you call for repairs from technicians with skill in both HVAC work and indoor air quality services.

For the proper work for air quality and air conditioning in Millcreek, UT, look to the comprehensive services of Design Comfort. We are ready 24 hours a day to help you.

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How Does an Air Conditioner Cool the Air?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Air conditioners are quite a feat of engineering. While they seem to just blow cool air, there is actually much more going on than appears to the eye. Simply put, your air conditioner takes the hot air from your home, runs it through your air conditioning system, and then returns it as cool, dry air. So, what appears as cool air blowing into your home is actually the same air with the heat removed. Want to know how your air conditioning does this? Let the Millcreek air conditioning system specialists at Design Comfort explain how this happens.

Refrigerant

You may have heard your air conditioning specialist say the word “refrigerant” in regard to your air conditioner. Refrigerant is the chemical your air conditioner uses to facilitate the heat transfer process. It does this by completing a cycle in which it changes from a liquid to a gas and back again, taking on and then dispersing heat from the air within your home.

The 3 Main Components of Your Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner has 3 main parts: the compressor, the condenser and the evaporator. These components are responsible for changing the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid, all within your air conditioning system.

How Do the Refrigerant and Components Work Together to Cool the Air?

In its different states, the refrigerant carries out heat and then helps to cool the air that is brought back into your home. How? When a liquid converts to gas, it absorbs heat. So when the refrigerant is in a gaseous state, it absorbs the heat from your property. As the refrigerant gas moves through the system, it passes through the outside unit, where the heat is released and the refrigerant cools. The cooled gas moves back into the house to the evaporator, where warm air is blown onto the evaporator coils now holding the cooled refrigerant. This creates chilled air, which is delivered to the inside of your property via the ductwork.

Removal of Humidity

In addition to lowering the temperature, your air conditioner does a second important job: it also removes humidity. Moisture is a conductor of heat, which is why humidity makes things feel so much hotter. As your air conditioner removes heat, it also removes moisture from the air and drains it outside your home. Without this function, you would have cool, moist air in your home rather than cool, dry air.

It’s a Complex System

Your air conditioner is a complex machine that benefits most when a licensed professional manages its maintenance and repairs. For over 30 years, Design Comfort has been working on air conditioners in Millcreek. If you would like to know more about our products, installation or repairs, call us today!

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How Can My Air Conditioning System Help with Humidity?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

It’s not so much the heat as it is the humidity.

We’ve all heard this phrase before, and we’ve all experienced it: the higher the moisture level in the air, the more uncomfortable a hot day will feel. The reason for this is that high humidity makes it more difficult for our pores to sweat. Sweating is our bodies’ defense against overheating; the release of moisture from our bodies also releases heat. But with too much moisture in the air, we sweat at a slower rate, and lose heat at a slower rate as well. We end up feeling hotter than temperature around us.

Air conditioners can help make your home more comfortable during sweltering summer days when the humidity level contributes to your discomfort. But your AC needs to remain in good operating condition for this to work. When it’s time for repairs for your air conditioning, call Design Comfort. We have 24-hour emergency air conditioning service available in Salt Lake City for when that busted AC can’t wait.

Why Air Conditioning Helps Reduce Humidity

Modern ACs are not designed specifically as dehumidifiers (although some have humidity controls as extra features, and the first electro-mechanical air conditioner was specifically engineered to reduce humidity within a paper plant), but the process of evaporation that creates the feeling of cooler air in your home also draws moisture out of the air.

The evaporator coil in an air conditioner is located in the indoor cabinet of the system. As refrigerant runs through this coil, it absorbs heat from the air, cooling the air down. But it also absorbs moisture from the air, which condenses along the coil. This moisture collects into a shallow pan below the coil (the condensate pan) and from there a pump removes it through a drain. The moisture does not re-enter your home’s air, and so you experience a pleasant humidity reduction.

Watch Out For the Opposite Effect, However

Low humidity is often a problem in Salt Lake City, and this can feel as uncomfortable as high humidity. An air conditioner can end up drying your home out too much, and if this is often the case, consider investing in a whole-house humidifier to create a balance. The combination of the two will help your home achieve the right humidity level no matter the weather.

Design Comfort, along with offering excellent service for air conditioning systems in Salt Lake City, also installs humidifiers. Call us today and talk to our indoor air quality specialists to find out the best way to achieve the right moisture balance inside your house.

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