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Air Conditioning and Furnace Blog

What Is Central AC?

Posted on April 5, 2024Rick Welter
Woman Adjusting Central AC Temperature At Home On Thermostat

Minnesotans love talking about the weather! Enduring the weather? Not as much. Our winters easily see the mercury plunge below zero, while our summer temps can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit – and don’t forget that humidity!

One sure-fire way to stay comfortable across the warmer seasons is by installing central air conditioning in your home. In fact, recent data shows that nearly 70% of homes in Minnesota have central air conditioning units

Whether you’re one of the 30% looking to upgrade your home’s cooling system, or you’re just curious to know more about how central AC systems work, the experts at Welter have the answers you’re looking for.  Let’s explore the world of Central AC.

Understanding Central AC

Central air conditioning is the best way to regulate your home’s indoor air quality. Unlike a window unit that cools a single room, a central AC system distributes chilled air throughout your entire house, making sure every corner stays comfortable, no matter how hot it is outside.

A central AC system is designed to not only lower the temperature in your home but to also improve the air quality. This means less humidity, fewer allergens, and a cooler, more comfortable living environment.

Here are some key benefits of installing a central AC system in your home:

  • Uniform cooling: No more hot spots and chilly corners. Central AC keeps every room at your desired temperature.
  • Improved air quality: These systems filter out pollen, dust, and other allergens from the air.
  • Quieter operation: Unlike the constant hum of window units, central AC systems are whisper-quiet.
  • Increased home value: Homes with central AC are more attractive to buyers, so if you’re thinking of selling down the line, this could be a smart investment.

How Does Central AC Work?

Inside your AC, there’s a special liquid called refrigerant. As warm air from your home blows over the coil, the refrigerant inside the coil absorbs the heat, turning from a liquid into a gas. This gas, carrying the heat from your home, moves to the outdoor unit’s condenser coil. Here, the heat is released into the outside air, and the refrigerant cools down and turns back into a liquid.

Meanwhile, the indoor unit blows air through a chilled coil, stripping away the heat and cooling it down. This cool air is then sent throughout your home via ductwork.

This cycle keeps going, keeping your home at the chill level you like, until the thermostat senses that the temperature is just right and tells your AC to take a break.

Here are the components making this happen:

  • Evaporator coil: This indoor component is where the heat from your home is absorbed by the refrigerant.
  • Compressor: Located in the outdoor unit, this pumps the refrigerant through the system.
  • Condenser coil: Also in the outdoor unit, this releases the captured heat into the outside air.
  • Expansion valve: This controls the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator, regulating the cooling power.
  • Air handler and blower: These work together to circulate air through your home, ensuring every corner gets cooled.

Main Types of Central Air Conditioners

When it comes to cooling your home, there are two main types of central air conditioners to consider: split systems and packaged central air conditioners. Let’s unpack each type so you can figure out which one might be the right fit for your home.

Split systems

This is the most common type of central AC system for residential cooling. Why are they called “split”? Because they’re exactly that: a system split between an outdoor unit, which houses the compressor and condenser, and an indoor unit housing the evaporator coil, typically connected to your furnace or air handler. These systems are a great fit for homes with an existing furnace but no air conditioning, as they can utilize the same ductwork.

Pros:

  • They tend to use less electricity to produce cool air.
  • The noisiest parts are outside, keeping your indoors peaceful.
  • Great for homes with existing heating systems but no AC.

Cons:

  • You need enough room outside for the unit and suitable space indoors for the air handler.
  • Split systems can be pricier to install than other types of air conditioners.

Packaged central air conditioners

These units are a bit different. Everything — the compressor, condenser, and evaporator — is housed in a single unit, which is typically placed on the roof or on a concrete slab near the foundation. These are more common in commercial buildings but can be a good solution for homes without basements or for those looking to save on space.

Pros:

  • No indoor unit means more room in your home for other things.
  • Since everything is contained in one unit, it’s generally simpler to handle.

Cons:

  • They often don’t match the energy efficiency of split systems.
  • Housing every component outside can lead to quicker wear and tear.

What to Consider Before Installing Central AC

Before you commit to investing in central AC, here are a few important factors to consider:

Space

Not all homes are created equal, and the same goes for central AC systems. You need to consider the size of your home, the layout, and whether your existing ductwork (if you have any) is up to the task. Larger homes might need more powerful systems, while smaller spaces might benefit from a more compact setup.

Budget

Installing central AC is an investment. Besides the initial cost of the system, think about installation costs and the potential increase in your monthly energy bills. But, remember: a more efficient system could save you money in the long run by reducing your energy usage.

Energy efficiency

Systems are rated by SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) numbers, the higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. Opting for a system with a high SEER rating might cost more upfront but can reduce your energy bills over time.

Professional installation and sizing

This is not a DIY project. Professional installation ensures that your system is sized correctly for your home and installed properly, which can significantly affect its efficiency and longevity. A system that’s too big or too small for your home won’t run efficiently and could end up costing you more money and comfort in the long run.

Take your time, do your research, and consider consulting with a professional like the folks here at Welter Heating. We can help you navigate these considerations and choose the best system for your home and lifestyle.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Dog Pug Breed and Air purifier in cozy white bed room for filter and cleaning removing dust PM2.5 HEPA in home,for fresh air and healthy life

When you think about maintaining a healthy home environment, air quality should be at the top of your list. Air purifiers play a crucial role in this by cleaning the air you breathe every day.

But, how exactly do they do this?

The answer depends on the type of air purification system you have.

Here’s a closer look at what air purifiers can filter out, various types of air purifiers, how they work, and how you can decide which is the best fit for your home. Read More ›

Types of Air Conditioners: Which One Is Right for Your Home?

Cassette Air Conditioner on ceiling in modern light office or apartment with green ficus plant leaves. Indoor air quality and clean filters concept

Remaining comfortable indoors as the mercury climbs is a blessing of modern technology. Widely available home cooling solutions were introduced in the 1940s, and since then Americans have been enjoying perfectly conditioned indoor air.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or a system upgrade, the first step on your path to comfort is selecting the right type to meet your cooling needs. We’ve put together this primer on the types of air conditioners to help you make an informed decision as you invest in your future comfort. Read More ›

HVAC Options for Old Houses

Technician is checking air conditioner ,measuring equipment for filling air conditioners.

If you live in a home constructed before the 1940s, odds are it wasn’t built with an HVAC system in place. And while there is so much to love about the character of older homes, the struggle to manage indoor air quality is real – especially in the weather extremes of the Twin Cities. 

We’ll walk you through the world of HVAC options for older houses so that you can find a solution that balances modern comfort with the unique needs and preservation of your historical home. Read More ›

What Is AFUE and Why Does It Matter?

Closeup Shot Of Home Furnace Burner Ignited With Crimson Blue Flame

One of the more common but least understood acronyms in the world of HVAC technology is AFUE. This is one of the primary ways furnace efficiency is measured and reported—but what does it mean? And why is this simple number so important when considering a new furnace? 

Let’s learn everything you need to know about what AFUE is and why it matters.  Read More ›

Air Conditioning and Furnace Blog

What Is Central AC?

Posted on April 5, 2024Rick Welter
Woman Adjusting Central AC Temperature At Home On Thermostat

Minnesotans love talking about the weather! Enduring the weather? Not as much. Our winters easily see the mercury plunge below zero, while our summer temps can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit – and don’t forget that humidity!

One sure-fire way to stay comfortable across the warmer seasons is by installing central air conditioning in your home. In fact, recent data shows that nearly 70% of homes in Minnesota have central air conditioning units

Whether you’re one of the 30% looking to upgrade your home’s cooling system, or you’re just curious to know more about how central AC systems work, the experts at Welter have the answers you’re looking for.  Let’s explore the world of Central AC.

Understanding Central AC

Central air conditioning is the best way to regulate your home’s indoor air quality. Unlike a window unit that cools a single room, a central AC system distributes chilled air throughout your entire house, making sure every corner stays comfortable, no matter how hot it is outside.

A central AC system is designed to not only lower the temperature in your home but to also improve the air quality. This means less humidity, fewer allergens, and a cooler, more comfortable living environment.

Here are some key benefits of installing a central AC system in your home:

  • Uniform cooling: No more hot spots and chilly corners. Central AC keeps every room at your desired temperature.
  • Improved air quality: These systems filter out pollen, dust, and other allergens from the air.
  • Quieter operation: Unlike the constant hum of window units, central AC systems are whisper-quiet.
  • Increased home value: Homes with central AC are more attractive to buyers, so if you’re thinking of selling down the line, this could be a smart investment.

How Does Central AC Work?

Inside your AC, there’s a special liquid called refrigerant. As warm air from your home blows over the coil, the refrigerant inside the coil absorbs the heat, turning from a liquid into a gas. This gas, carrying the heat from your home, moves to the outdoor unit’s condenser coil. Here, the heat is released into the outside air, and the refrigerant cools down and turns back into a liquid.

Meanwhile, the indoor unit blows air through a chilled coil, stripping away the heat and cooling it down. This cool air is then sent throughout your home via ductwork.

This cycle keeps going, keeping your home at the chill level you like, until the thermostat senses that the temperature is just right and tells your AC to take a break.

Here are the components making this happen:

  • Evaporator coil: This indoor component is where the heat from your home is absorbed by the refrigerant.
  • Compressor: Located in the outdoor unit, this pumps the refrigerant through the system.
  • Condenser coil: Also in the outdoor unit, this releases the captured heat into the outside air.
  • Expansion valve: This controls the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator, regulating the cooling power.
  • Air handler and blower: These work together to circulate air through your home, ensuring every corner gets cooled.

Main Types of Central Air Conditioners

When it comes to cooling your home, there are two main types of central air conditioners to consider: split systems and packaged central air conditioners. Let’s unpack each type so you can figure out which one might be the right fit for your home.

Split systems

This is the most common type of central AC system for residential cooling. Why are they called “split”? Because they’re exactly that: a system split between an outdoor unit, which houses the compressor and condenser, and an indoor unit housing the evaporator coil, typically connected to your furnace or air handler. These systems are a great fit for homes with an existing furnace but no air conditioning, as they can utilize the same ductwork.

Pros:

  • They tend to use less electricity to produce cool air.
  • The noisiest parts are outside, keeping your indoors peaceful.
  • Great for homes with existing heating systems but no AC.

Cons:

  • You need enough room outside for the unit and suitable space indoors for the air handler.
  • Split systems can be pricier to install than other types of air conditioners.

Packaged central air conditioners

These units are a bit different. Everything — the compressor, condenser, and evaporator — is housed in a single unit, which is typically placed on the roof or on a concrete slab near the foundation. These are more common in commercial buildings but can be a good solution for homes without basements or for those looking to save on space.

Pros:

  • No indoor unit means more room in your home for other things.
  • Since everything is contained in one unit, it’s generally simpler to handle.

Cons:

  • They often don’t match the energy efficiency of split systems.
  • Housing every component outside can lead to quicker wear and tear.

What to Consider Before Installing Central AC

Before you commit to investing in central AC, here are a few important factors to consider:

Space

Not all homes are created equal, and the same goes for central AC systems. You need to consider the size of your home, the layout, and whether your existing ductwork (if you have any) is up to the task. Larger homes might need more powerful systems, while smaller spaces might benefit from a more compact setup.

Budget

Installing central AC is an investment. Besides the initial cost of the system, think about installation costs and the potential increase in your monthly energy bills. But, remember: a more efficient system could save you money in the long run by reducing your energy usage.

Energy efficiency

Systems are rated by SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) numbers, the higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. Opting for a system with a high SEER rating might cost more upfront but can reduce your energy bills over time.

Professional installation and sizing

This is not a DIY project. Professional installation ensures that your system is sized correctly for your home and installed properly, which can significantly affect its efficiency and longevity. A system that’s too big or too small for your home won’t run efficiently and could end up costing you more money and comfort in the long run.

Take your time, do your research, and consider consulting with a professional like the folks here at Welter Heating. We can help you navigate these considerations and choose the best system for your home and lifestyle.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Dog Pug Breed and Air purifier in cozy white bed room for filter and cleaning removing dust PM2.5 HEPA in home,for fresh air and healthy life

When you think about maintaining a healthy home environment, air quality should be at the top of your list. Air purifiers play a crucial role in this by cleaning the air you breathe every day.

But, how exactly do they do this?

The answer depends on the type of air purification system you have.

Here’s a closer look at what air purifiers can filter out, various types of air purifiers, how they work, and how you can decide which is the best fit for your home. Read More ›

Types of Air Conditioners: Which One Is Right for Your Home?

Cassette Air Conditioner on ceiling in modern light office or apartment with green ficus plant leaves. Indoor air quality and clean filters concept

Remaining comfortable indoors as the mercury climbs is a blessing of modern technology. Widely available home cooling solutions were introduced in the 1940s, and since then Americans have been enjoying perfectly conditioned indoor air.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or a system upgrade, the first step on your path to comfort is selecting the right type to meet your cooling needs. We’ve put together this primer on the types of air conditioners to help you make an informed decision as you invest in your future comfort. Read More ›

HVAC Options for Old Houses

Technician is checking air conditioner ,measuring equipment for filling air conditioners.

If you live in a home constructed before the 1940s, odds are it wasn’t built with an HVAC system in place. And while there is so much to love about the character of older homes, the struggle to manage indoor air quality is real – especially in the weather extremes of the Twin Cities. 

We’ll walk you through the world of HVAC options for older houses so that you can find a solution that balances modern comfort with the unique needs and preservation of your historical home. Read More ›

What Is AFUE and Why Does It Matter?

Closeup Shot Of Home Furnace Burner Ignited With Crimson Blue Flame

One of the more common but least understood acronyms in the world of HVAC technology is AFUE. This is one of the primary ways furnace efficiency is measured and reported—but what does it mean? And why is this simple number so important when considering a new furnace? 

Let’s learn everything you need to know about what AFUE is and why it matters.  Read More ›

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