Contractors are a dime a dozen, but how do you know if yours is any good? If you didn’t do your homework, chances are you could wind up with an air conditioning contractor that just isn’t up to snuff.
Below, we list six signs that you picked the wrong air conditioning contractor. Do any of these apply to you?
1. Your contractor doesn’t take the time to accurately determine your air conditioner’s size.
Seems pretty basic, right? If your contractor doesn’t do this, he is definitely screwing up.
2. Your contractor doesn’t give you a written agreement.
You are entitled to know what’s going on with your air conditioning system. A good contractor will provide a written agreement detailing the desired outcomes of the job.
3. Your contractor doesn’t give you a service warranty.
This is a huge red flag. If your contractor doesn’t stand behind his work, your air conditioning system could very well start malfunctioning as soon as he gets his paycheck.
4. Your contractor isn’t NATE-certified.
The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is an independent, non-profit national organization that ensures quality within the HVAC industry. If the technician servicing your air conditioning isn’t certified, he might not be using the most modern and safest techniques.
5. Your contractor doesn’t check out online.
You’re probably already great at Facebook stalking. Use those same skills to make sure your contractor isn’t going to make your air conditioning worse instead of better. Check their standing with the Better Business Bureau, as well as reading online reviews.
6. You called the cheapest contractor you could find.
You might get away with buying off-brand peanut butter at the supermarket, but don’t go calling the cheapest contractor you can find just because you’re trying to save a buck. Skimping on your air conditioning system may save you in the short term, but you’ll be wasting energy (read: money) in the long term – and, ultimately, you’ll probably need additional repairs sooner than if you had hired a good contractor in the first place.

On a hot day, it sure feels good to get out of the sun, whether that’s under a tree or in the shadow of a tall building. The air in the shade is cooler, and you’re more comfortable for it.
Your air conditioner isn’t any different. Like most people, air conditioners prefer the shade, as well – they work better when the air they’re cooling isn’t as hot to begin with.
For this reason, trees and awnings can make a big difference in the unit’s efficiency. But there’s one thing that’s even better than either a tree or an awning when it comes to cooling the air around your air conditioning system: a storage compartment. By making this one simple change, you can greatly increase your air conditioning system’s maximum cooling output.
What do you need? Plywood and common lumber, mostly. You’ll need it to construct a storage compartment with a sloped roof that (most likely) attaches to your house.
There’s two reasons behind this shape. One is purely aesthetic. The angle is likely similar to the angles of your home’s roof. The second reason accessibility – it’s easier to service the unit with the extra clearance.
Now, you can build this storage compartment as big or small as you please. The main consideration is that there be airflow. After all, what’s the point in shading the unit if it can’t draw in any air?
Naturally, a bigger storage compartment allows for more airflow. An added benefit of a large storage compartment is that It can also double as a place to keep gardening equipment such as tools and fertilizer. If you’re going to the trouble of building this kind of structure, you might as well make it more versatile while you’re at it.
So, are you all ready to start building your storage compartment? Don’t get to hammering away just yet. Even if you’re sure the unit will get enough airflow with the design you have in mind, you might be dead wrong. Consult with you air conditioning service provider to determine whether you’ll be providing sufficient clearance before kicking off the project.

When it comes to keeping cool in your home, you’ve got options – four, actually. Whatever you choose (or happen to already have in your home), all air conditioning systems share these five common traits: a refrigerant, compressor, condenser, expansion valve and evaporator coil.
Below, we’ll discuss what defines each type of air conditioning system and how they work. Which type of air conditioning system do you have?
1. Window Air Conditioner
Window air conditioners are literally the total package. The unit contains all the air conditioning components, including the evaporator, cooling coil, compressor, condenser and expansion coil or valve. For a simple solution to your cooling problems, window air conditioners are it!
Window air conditioners have a pretty obvious drawback, and we’ll just go ahead and say it: they’re kind of ugly. But if anything is going to help you come to peace with the clunky aesthetics, it’s the cost-savings: because these units allow you to cool a single room – namely, the one you’re in at the time – you’ll spend less over the short and long term.
2. Split Air Conditioners
Divide and conquer. That’s the motto of the split air conditioner. The unit divvies up the work of cooling one or two rooms between its outdoor and indoor components. On the outdoor side of things, you’ve got the compressor, condenser and expansion valve, whereas indoors you’ll find the evaporator coil and cooling fan.
3. Packaged Air Conditioners
Say you’ve got a bigger cooling job than just a room or two, and a window air conditioner or split air conditioner just won’t do. In cases where you need to cool down multiple rooms or large, open spaces, a packaged air conditioner is definitely the better choice.
These units are arranged in one of two ways. First, a single box can contain the various components (a compressor, condenser, expansion valve and evaporator). Once air is cooled down in the packaged air conditioner, it is then sent to each room through the ductwork.
In the second case, it’s individual units, each with their own expansion valve and cooling coil, that do the cooling. These are located in the rooms you want to cool. The compressor and condenser are contained in one unit.
4. Central Air Conditioners
As air conditioning systems go, this is “the big one”. It’ll cool your offices, your hotels, your larger buildings, your homes in their entirety. A giant compressor does most of the work. Cool air from the air conditioning unit gets pumped throughout the structure through ducts and out of registers (openings in walls, ceilings and floors, often covered by a metal gate).

Have you ever wondered how your air conditioner works? In this article, we explain what’s going on inside an air conditioner that allows it to cool your room and elevate your comfort.
Let’s start from the moment you switch your air conditioner on. When you flip that switch, the thermostat control inside your air conditioner springs into action, sending 120 volts of alternating current to two different components: the compressor and the fan motor.
The compressor is basically a pump that compresses refrigerant into the condenser coils at the rear end of the unit. It’s a gas at first, but the condenser coils actually condense it into a hot liquid. The resulting heat is then dispersed as the liquid passes from the condenser coils and the capillary tube on into the evaporator coils.
The evaporator coils can be found at the front end of the air conditioner. This is the part of the cycle where the refrigerant liquid becomes a gas once again. If you’ve been following along closely, you’ll be able to guess exactly how this takes place: the refrigerant cools! The coils then cool as a result.
The final part of the cycle takes place when the gas passes through a suction line attached to the compressor, where it’s changed back into a liquid.
While all this is happening, your room wouldn’t see much benefit if not for the fan motor. This is because for your room to be cooled, your air conditioner needs to suck in air from the room, cooling it as it passes over the evaporator coils. And just like that, you’ve got cool air!
The unit keeps itself cool with the condenser fan. As you might imagine, the condenser fan’s job is to blow air from outdoors over the condenser’s coils to cool them.
To get the temperature just right in your room, you probably know that you use either the thermostat switch or an electronic control board. But how does the air conditioner know when it’s cooled the room to your liking?
This is accomplished with the sensing bulb or electronic sensor, which measures the temperature of the air in the room as it passes into the evaporator coils. Once the temperature in the room reaches desired levels, the thermostat shuts down the compressor.
One more thing to note: water tends to collect inside air conditioning units. This isn’t a sign your unit is malfunctioning – it’s a normal part of the process. To keep this water from running into your room, tip the unit back slightly when you’re setting it up in your window. The water will drip outside (and hopefully not onto someone’s head below).