Riding the Heat Wave, Comfortably
Copper helps to warm our homes and comes to our rescue in the summer, when the temperature rises. An air-conditioned room or house is a welcome sanctuary from the heat, and a luxury we have come to cherish. Air conditioners come in various sizes and cooling capacities to fit every home and are both easy to install and economical.
The use of copper in air conditioning and refrigeration has grown steadily in the last few years. A material was needed to help increase operating efficiency, and copper has been filling the need.
There are several kinds of air-conditioning systems: Window-Mounted Units, Split-Systems Units, Chilled-Water Systems, and Cooling Towers. For residential applications, the most common types of air conditioners are self-contained window units and split-system units in which the compressor is located outdoors, but all types of air conditioners operate on the basis of one idea, and all use copper materials.
The concept of air conditioning is a relatively simple one: use a compressor and cooling system to remove heat from the indoor air and transfer it outdoors. Its basically a refrigerator for your home without the insulated doors, ice dispenser, vegetable drawers, etc. Using a chemical refrigerant, most often a form of freon gas, the unit uses the coolant to absorb heat, runs it through a series of coils (the most efficient units use copper), and uses fans to dispense the exhaust heat to the outside and the cool air to the room.
Window units, popular in apartments or for individual rooms in a home, are sized to fit securely and safely within a window frame. Fans are used to draw in the hot air, dissipate the heat to the outside, and blow cool air into the room.
Spilt-system units are used for larger spaces, especially for central-air system homes. Operating on the same concept, the unit differs in only a few ways. A larger air conditioner is needed to cool a larger space, which can be unsightly and noisy, so the split-system unit, including the condenser, coil, fans, noise and exhaust heat, is all based outside of the building and pumps the cool air through an air handler or venting system throughout the house. Unlike the rectangular shaped window unit, split-system units tend to be shaped like a cylinder, containing long, spiral (copper) coils where the and cooling cycles occur.
With energy efficiency and electric bills a hot topic in all households, it is important to know if your air conditioner is operating efficiently, or simply burning a hole in your pocketbook. When looking to evaluate your air conditioner or upgrade to a newer model, it is important to know what to look for and what exactly you are buying when it comes to an air-conditioning system. The next few terms may come in very useful.
Btu - (British Thermal Unit) A unit of measurement equal to the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Most air conditioners' cooling capacity is defined in terms of BTUs. In cooling terms, one ton is equivalent to 12,000 BTUs. It is difficult to place an "average" on air conditioners and their ratings, but as a rough example, we can say that a window unit rated at 10,000 BTUs is adequate for a room(s) up to 500 square feet, whereas a split-system unit for a 2,000 square foot house may require a 60,000 BTU system. Understanding the space you are looking to cool as well as matching the BTU output for your system is essential when deciding on a home cooling system.
Air conditioners now include an EER or Energy Efficiency Rating, which is the ratio of an air conditioner's BTUs over its wattage requirements. For example, if a 10,000-BTU unit uses 1,200 watts, its EER would be 8.3. The higher the EER, the less electricity used in watts, the lower the utility bills. Higher efficiency air conditioners usually cost more than lower EER units, but operate more efficiently, which reduces cost over time. Look for units that are 10.0 or higher, and keep your eye out for air conditioners with an Energy Star® label. Often rebates are offered for purchasing high-efficiency units as an incentive to make up for the price of the initial investment.
When looking to install or replace a home cooling system, it is important to take these factors into consideration as well as those factors limited to your specific needs, such as the average amount of hours you expect to run the unit and temperature conditions in your region.
Copper's role in the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry is becoming increasingly more important. With the desire for homeowners to lower household operating expenses as well as use environmentally sound appliances, choosing systems that utilize the superior heat transfer characteristics of copper is a wise and conscientious decision.
The Copper Development Association has instituted a program to provide critical information to individuals and companies active in the development, manufacturing, or installation of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Learn more information about CDA's Copper in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration section.
One of the most cost-effective means for heating and cooling is the ground source heat pumps. For additional information, please click on the links below:
- Copper DX Geothermal Heat Pump
- Would you like to help save the environment?
- Direct-Exchange Geothermal Technology
- Heating And Cooling System Relies On Copper Tubing Buried In The Yard
- Zero Energy House
- CDA Backs DX Geothermal Heat Pump R & D
- International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSPHA)
- Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium
Contacts for Heat Pump Information:
1248 George Jenkins Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33801
Ph. 941 688-0880
Fax 941 688-0929
Advanced Geothermal Technology
P.O. Box 6469
Reading, PA 19610
Ph. 610 736-0570
Fax 610 736-0571
K. W. Lambert Construction and Equipment
405 Mt. Crawford Ave.
Bridgewater, VA 22812
Ph. 540 828-3147
Fax 540 828-7474