Right now is a good time for Portland-area homeowners to invest in an end-of-season air conditioner upgrade. Before making any major decisions about end-of-season air conditioner upgrades or repairs, it’s wise to become familiar with air-conditioning terminology so you understand the components for A/C units that you’re considering.
There are a number of air conditioning terms with which you should familiarize yourself as you set about upgrading your air conditioner, including:
- Air handler: When talking about a central air-conditioning system, the air handler is the cooling unit located inside the house. It contains the evaporator coil and expansion valve and may house the blower. Some air handlers run only in one mode — on — while others can run at multiple speeds, depending on your home’s cooling requirements at any given time. These variable-speed air handlers are quieter and more efficient.
- Condenser: This is the outdoor unit in a split system. It contains the condenser coil, compressor and fan. As with air handlers, there is a variable-speed option called a two-stage compressor that saves electricity.
- Refrigerant: This is the cold liquid/gas that’s used by an A/C to cool the air. Older A/C systems used R-22 refrigerant, which the EPA does not allow R-22 in new upgrades. R-410A is commonly used instead.
- Safety cap: A locking cover for your A/C refrigerant valves can prevent costly and dangerous refrigerant huffing.
- Ductless mini-split: This is an A/C system that uses more than one air handler, but only one condenser. The lack of ducts makes it both easier to install and more energy-efficient.
- Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER): SEER is a rating of the average energy efficiency of an A/C system. Choosing a higher SEER end-of-season air conditioner upgrade can save you money for many seasons to come.
- Cooling load: The cooling load reflects the amount of air conditioning power needed for a particular house. If the size of your A/C does not match the cooling load, it will either not fully cool your house or will cool it inefficiently.
If you have questions regarding an end-of-season air conditioner upgrade, contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling. We proudly serve homeowners in and around the Portland area.