The compressor-based refrigerant systems are air-cooled, meaning they use air to exchange heat, in the same way as a car radiator or typical household air conditioner does. Such a system dehumidifies the air as it cools it. It collects water condensed from the cooled air and produces hot air which must be vented outside the cooled area; doing so transfers heat from the air in the cooled area to the outside air.
In 1820, English scientist and inventor Michael Faraday discovered that compressing and liquefying ammonia could chill air when the liquefied ammonia was allowed to evaporate. In 1842, Florida physician John Gorrie used compressor technology to create ice, which he used to cool air for his patients in his hospital in Apalachicola, Florida. He hoped to eventually use his ice-making machine to regulate the temperature of buildings. He even envisioned centralized air conditioning that could cool entire cities. Though his prototype leaked and performed irregularly, Gorrie was granted a patent in 1851 for his ice-making machine. Though his process improved the artificial production of ice, his hopes for its success vanished soon afterwards when his chief financial backer died and Gorrie did not get the money he needed to develop the machine. According to his biographer, Vivian M. Sherlock, he blamed the "Ice King", Frederic Tudor, for his failure, suspecting that Tudor had launched a smear campaign against his invention. Dr. Gorrie died impoverished in 1855, and the dream of commonplace air conditioning went away for 50 years.
2Be sure the furnace’s circuit breaker is on or that its fuse has not blown. Check both the main electrical panel and any secondary subpanels that supply power to the unit. If the circuit has blown or tripped, reset the circuit breaker by flipping it all the way off and then on again. Or replace the fuse. If the circuit blows again, there is probably a short in the electrical system providing power to the furnace. For this, you may need to call an electrical contractor.
A mini-split system typically supplies air conditioned and heated air to a single or a few rooms of a building. Multi-zone systems are a common application of ductless systems and allow up to 8 rooms (zones) to be conditioned from a single outdoor unit. Multi-zone systems typically offer a variety of indoor unit styles including wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, ceiling recessed, and horizontal ducted. Mini-split systems typically produce 9,000 to 36,000 Btu (9,500–38,000 kJ) per hour of cooling. Multi-zone systems provide extended cooling and heating capacity up to 60,000 Btu's.
All modern air conditioning systems, even small window package units, are equipped with internal air filters. These are generally of a lightweight gauzy material, and must be replaced or washed as conditions warrant. For example, a building in a high dust environment, or a home with furry pets, will need to have the filters changed more often than buildings without these dirt loads. Failure to replace these filters as needed will contribute to a lower heat exchange rate, resulting in wasted energy, shortened equipment life, and higher energy bills; low air flow can result in iced-over evaporator coils, which can completely stop air flow. Additionally, very dirty or plugged filters can cause overheating during a heating cycle, and can result in damage to the system or even fire.
Poorly maintained water cooling towers can promote the growth and spread of microorganisms, such as Legionella pneumophila, the infectious agent responsible for Legionnaires' disease, or thermophilic actinomycetes. As long as the cooling tower is kept clean (usually by means of a chlorine treatment), these health hazards can be avoided or reduced. Excessive air conditioning can have a negative effect on skin, causing it to dry out, and can also cause dehydration.
Modern air conditioning systems are not designed to draw air into the room from the outside, they only recirculate the increasingly cool air on the inside. Because this inside air always has some amount of moisture suspended in it, the cooling portion of the process always causes ambient warm water vapor to condense on the cooling coils and to drip from them down onto a catch tray at the bottom of the unit from which it must then be routed outside, usually through a drain hole. As this moisture has no dissolved minerals in it, it will not cause mineral buildup on the coils. This will happen even if the ambient humidity level is low. If ice begins to form on the evaporative fins, it will reduce circulation efficiency and cause the development of more ice, etc. A clean and strong circulatory fan can help prevent this, as will raising the target cool temperature of the unit's thermostat to a point that the compressor is allowed to turn off occasionally. A failing thermistor may also cause this problem. Refrigerators without a defrost cycle may have this same issue. Dust can also cause the fins to begin blocking air flow with the same undesirable result: ice.
In addition to the information below, see these two articles for the general care and maintenance of your air conditioner: Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer and How to Replace Furnace & AC Filters. Most noteworthy, you should replace the filters at least twice a year, before the heating and cooling seasons. For information on furnace problems, please see Furnace Not Working.
1) Change your filter. The simplest and most effective way to keep your AC running smoothly is changing your filter once a month. By regularly changing your filter, you reduce a lot of the burden on your system. A dirty or clogged filter makes your air conditioner work much harder than does a clean filter. Changing your filters regularly is easy on your budget and easy on your system as well. It will lower your utility bill and extend the life of your AC.