Your air conditioner allows you to bear the heat of summer in relative comfort. As a result, you can enjoy uninterrupted quality of life during even the hottest of months. Yet air conditioners can also bring stress in the form of high energy bills. Fortunately, proactive homeowners can find ways to reduce their air conditioner's energy consumption.
One of the largest factors in how much energy your air conditioner consumes is how well the outdoor condenser unit disperses the heat generated during operation. If you would like to learn more about why this is so important — as well as one of the best ways to promote condenser cooling — read on. This article will outline the benefits of adding a diffuser to your condenser unit.
Air Conditioner Efficiency
The refrigerant in your air conditioning system cools your home by absorbing unwanted heat. When you need further cooling, the same process repeats itself. Yet in order to absorb more heat, the refrigerant must first get rid of the heat it absorbed last time. This takes place inside of the condensing unit.
First, the refrigerant passes through the compressor, which gives the refrigerant the necessary pressure boost to flow through the rest of the system. The refrigerant then enters the condenser coil. The condenser coil plays a key role in lowering the refrigerant's temperature. Heat passes through the copper condenser coil, along a series of aluminum fins, and into the air.
A fan mounted on top of the outdoor condenser unit increases the airflow coming through the sidewalls of the condensing unit. That way, as heat moves out of the refrigerant into the air, cooler air will quickly move in to keep the process going.
Good airflow is one of the keys to air conditioner efficiency. You must always be sure that vegetation or other objects do not block the sides of the condensing unit.
Even an unobstructed condensing unit equipped with a well-working fan can struggle to displace heat as quickly as needed. As the outdoor temperature rises, the condenser will have a harder and harder time getting rid of the refrigerant's heat. This difficulty means the temperature of the refrigerant won't drop as much as it should.
The warmer the refrigerant is, the less heat it can absorb from inside the evaporator coil. This, in turn, requires the compressor to run more frequently because it will take more passes through the system for the refrigerant to meet a given cooling need. Longer run times put more wear and tear on the compressor and other components.
Air Conditioner Diffuser
A diffuser improves airflow through the condensing unit. Made out of sheet metal shaped like an upside-down cone, the diffuser attaches to the top of the condensing unit. The shape of the diffuser makes airflow out of the condensing unit aerodynamic.
A diffuser also helps to push heated air up and away from the condensing unit, rather than ejecting it in close proximity. Ultimately, a diffuser makes the condensing unit's job easier to reject heat. As a result, the heat transfer from the refrigerant to the air can occur at a greater rate, leading to efficiency increases of between 7 and 18 percent.
Diffusers are simple enough that handy homeowners can construct one themselves using an appropriately sized piece of sheet metal. Yet you would be wise to hire a professional to install your diffuser because professionals have the experience needed to ensure the diffuser performs the way it should.
For more information about what you can do to improve your air conditioner's efficiency, contact the HVAC pros at Heatcraft Heating & Cooling.