Are you looking to lower your cooling energy costs? Summers feel like they are getting longer with the higher temperatures starting in the earlier months and ending in the later months. You may start feeling a pinch from the extra utility bills that you have to pay just to stay comfortable from the relentless heat. Misting systems are a new energy-efficient solution to help cut energy bills associated with air conditioning (AC) units.
Air conditioning basics
Do you know how your AC unit works? Most air conditioners use the same following major components: evaporator, expansion valve, internal fan, evaporator coils, condenser, compressor, external fan and condenser coils. Each of these parts is essential to the functioning of the unit. The evaporator uses a liquid refrigerant, and the expansion valve controls the flow of this refrigerant, typically a chemical known as Freon. It converts the liquid to gas while the internal fan blows air over the evaporator coils. Once it becomes gaseous, it is then the compressor's job to pressurize the gas to convert it back to liquid. Meanwhile, the condenser is responsible for the heat transfer of the hot air through the external fan and condenser coils back out into the exterior atmosphere. This cycle continues until the inside air reaches the desired temperature set by the thermostat. This process creates a degree of undesirable heat on the condenser side.
So, what is HVAC misting and how does it work? Well, it is an installation that releases a fine mist of water that evaporates quickly while essentially cooling down the AC condenser unit simultaneously. This evaporative cooling is also known as "adiabatic cooling," and many commercial-grade AC units use this method to help with efficiency in cooling large buildings. Now, these systems are available for residential applications. This system rids the condenser of the excess heat that occurs through the normal functioning of the air conditioner. This system fastens to the top of the AC condenser and works only when the AC unit is in operation. Most systems consist of an inline filter, tubing, nozzles and pump. They keep the air surrounding the AC cool by lowering the temperature by as much as 40 degrees, depending on the system installed. This is favorable so that the air conditioner does not have to struggle in high temperatures while allowing the unit to transfer heat more efficiently.
What are the benefits of adding this kind of system to your existing unit? The primary benefit here would be energy efficiency. These systems will lower the electrical consumption, extend the life of the AC unit by reducing the strain on its various components and increase the cooling ability of the AC unit. Also, in some instances, you may qualify for a tax credit due to the resulting energy efficiency upgrade.
Tip: Have you every turned the AC on too low in the summer, actually causing the evaporator coils to freeze? Keep your AC no lower than 72-74 degrees to avoid frozen coils. AC units were not meant to cool homes lower than 72 degrees, so keep your unit in the safe zone and avoid extra energy costs from running a non-functioning unit due to freezing.
Potential misting problems
Nothing is without its downsides, and these systems are not immune to potential issues. Water has many minerals and chlorine. Though some misting systems claim to do filtration, there is still some concern and debate over corrosion and scaling issues, particularly with the condenser coils. As the water evaporates, it is possible that some residue will remain building up on the condenser coils or even possibly cause erosion. This is something to consider when deciding if a misting system is right for you and when discussing an installation for your home with your HVAC specialist.
You have decided to install a mister on your AC unit, so, what's the next step? Although, there are do-it-yourself kits available, the best option would be to hire an Atlanta HVAC professional. These professionals are familiar with a variety of AC units and their operation and most likely have had a lot of experience with misting installation. By hiring a professional, you would have a proper install and get the peace of mind knowing that your mister is fully compatible with your unit and working to maximize the benefits. Also, a professional would be able to help you with any further misting system concerns that you may have and discuss proper maintenance with you as well. Regardless of what you do, service your AC units annually by an HVAC specialist to ensure proper operation and comply with any existing home warranty coverage.