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Understanding How Your Central Texas HVAC System Works

An air conditioner’s main job is to move heat from inside a building to the outside, thereby cooling the area and its inhabitants. Air conditioners blow cool air into a building by pulling the heat out of that air.The cool air gets that way by blowing it over a set of cold pipes called an evaporator coil. This works much like the cooling that happens when water evaporates from your skin. The evaporator coil is filled with a special liquid called a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat from the air.

The refrigerant is then pumped outside the house to another coil where changes back into a liquid as it cools. This outside coil is called the condenser because the refrigerant condenses from a gas back to a fluid, like moisture on a cold window.

It’s all a fairly complicated process to make it where we can survive Central Texas summers. And once you realize how much has to happen in order for us to be comfortable, you also begin to understand why our Texas HVAC units use so much energy during the hottest months of the year.

Before this type of air conditioning was invented, cooling was done by using big blocks of ice (purchased at ice houses – and you thought ice houses were just bars). So when people began using cooling machines, their capacity to cool was rated by the equivalent amount of ice melted in a day, which is where the term “ton” came from sizing air conditioning.

A ton of cooling is now defined as delivering 12,000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) per hour of cooling. As a general rule, a window unit air conditioner is usually less than one ton. A small home central air conditioner would be about two tons and a large one, about five tons.

1st AC and Heating can help answer any questions you have about your Central Texas AC or heating system. We will dispatch qualified, licensed HVAC technicians to your home or business in Austin, Buda, Kyle and San Marcos, Texas, and will ensure your HVAC system is in top working order.

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