Air conditioners and air conditioning units (AC) are devices that improve thermal comfort and indoor air quality through the distribution of conditioned air, often through a fan. A refrigeration cycle is most commonly employed to cool an occupied space. With the variation of size in AC units, air conditioning can improve the comfort of occupants in both domestic and commercial environments. However, air conditioners can also be used to regulate temperatures in spaces that subsume heat-producing electronics, as well as spaces with delicate products. When choosing an air conditioning unit for installation, users often choose between a traditional central AC unit and a more customizable ductless mini-split unit.
Air conditioners evolved from simple ice-cooled fans to complex machines. In the early 20th century, the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented, primarily for industrial use. This breakthrough transformed comfort in homes and businesses, especially in hot climates. Over the decades, designs became more efficient and affordable, allowing broader adoption. These cooling systems shifted from being luxury items to essential home and office fixtures, improving quality of life, especially during sweltering summers.
The future of air conditioners focuses on eco-friendly and smart technology. Contemporary trends include units with energy-saving features, reducing electricity consumption and emissions. Smart air conditioners, controllable via apps, are growing in popularity, providing tailored comfort levels. A significant challenge is the environmental impact of traditional refrigerants. As the world becomes more eco-conscious, air conditioners will play a crucial role in ensuring comfort while adhering to sustainable practices and minimizing carbon footprints.
A general rule of thumb is that 20 Btu is required of an air conditioner for each square foot of space. Other factors that influence air conditioner size include ceiling height as well as window and door size. Usually a load calculation will be conducted to determine the cooling capacity needed, which will then determine the appropriate HVAC system (air conditioner unit) for the household.
There can be multiple reasons for an air conditioner to be running but not cooling a house, which include: improper installation, an unmaintained condenser, electrical or thermostat issues, and insufficient airflow. Most commonly, however, a lack of cooling can be the result of an unmaintained or dirty condenser unit.
There are three basic steps to cleaning a window air conditioner, which include: washing the filter monthly and replacing if need be, using a fine comb or brush to straighten bent fins, and cleaning the coils with a canister of condensed air.