Have you ever discovered that running the water hose on your air-conditionerís condenser unit can actually make it cooler inside your house? On a hot summer day, it can quickly cool things off by as much as 10ļ. But you donít have to stand outside with a water hose all summer. Thereís a better way to use water to keep your air conditioner running more efficiently.
AC2 Water-Cooled Air-Conditioning Compressor Units
Many large commercial buildings use water to cool down the condenser Ė the big, noisy unit you see outside your home. These water-cooled condensers are much more efficient than those air-cooled units you hear buzzing in your neighborhood all summer. Some experts say theyíre up to 230% more efficient. A 3-ton residential AC2 water-cooled condenser unit draws only about 5 amps of electricity versus an average 15-17 amps that a traditional air-cooled compressor does.
Why is that? In the traditional home A/C unit, freon gas is moved through tubing in the unit inside your home, where it expands and absorbs heat from the air. Then it moves outside to the condenser unit, where the freon expands as it cools and releases the heat to the outside air.
Thatís the traditional air-cooled system we all have in our homes. It works very well, until you start reaching temperatures of 90į or 100į Ė which most of us see all summer in the southern half of the U.S., at least. Then the air outside just doesnít cool down the freon that well, since itís already so hot. Get that condenser unit sitting in the hot summer sun, and youíre making the problem even worse.
What to do? The water-cooled freon system takes a principle used in many, many commercial systems and brings it home. The system inside the house is virtually the same as any other central A/C unit. Itís the outside condenser unit thatís really different and works much better in hot temperatures.
Instead of air blowing over the coils & fins in a traditional air-cooled unit, the coils in the water-cooled condenser unit run through a pool of water in the bottom. The water is kept circulating to release heat from it as it absorbs it from the coils much more efficiently than the surrounding air. Itís pumped up above and drips down through a screen system, where the water now is actually helped to cool with an unusual looking fan. (Alan & Michael will have one unit apart and put the parts together as they explain what they do, how they work, etc.)
Is the system more expensive up front? Yes, about $200 per ton of A/C. But when the normal cost of cooling goes from $380 a month to $130 a month for a 4,000 square-foot house, youíre paid back for the difference in the first summer.
Is this system for northern climates? Probably not where the air just doesnít get that hot too many days of the year.
What about the heater in the central A/C unit? Stays the same as traditional.
The unit does need to be drained of water in the bottom before first freezing temperatures of the winter.