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Imagine a hot cup of coffee sitting on a countertop. It is experiencing a relatively consistent rate of heat loss. If you place a metal fork, which is an effective conductor, in the hot coffee upside down with the tines upward, you have just dramatically increased the rate of heat loss. A cooling system removes heat from a home in this same manner. Refrigerant flows to and through two coils that look and function like car radiators. One coil is inside and one is outside. The heat is transferred to refrigerant through the first coil, and then sent to the outside coil where it is released to the air.

Every large ship has a bilge pump, because every large ship leaks. Without that pump, the ship eventually fills with water and sinks. A cooling system is designed to remove heat from your home faster than it can return, just like the bilge pump keeps the ship dry. Now imagine yourself in a smaller leaking john boat. Would you rather bail out that leaking boat with a small bucket or a Dixie cup?

When you neglect your cooling system letting it get low on refrigerant, it's like bailing out that boat with the Dixie cup. The process requires considerably more effort and energy to do the exact same work. Furthermore, all of the lubricant for a cooling system is in the refrigerant. Running your cooling system low on refrigerant is like driving your car with practically no oil in it. A cooling system only has so many revolutions of life in it. The way to make it last fifteen years instead of ten is to keep it tuned up so is does as much work as possible per revolution.

Did I just tell any home inspector anything they did not already know? Of course not, but guess what I did just successfully do? I explained a very complex mechanical process in simple terms to a housewife or anyone else that has no clue how a cooling system works, through the use of analogies. I also impressed upon them the value and importance of routine maintenance.

There are few feelings as rewarding as a client beaming, as they look at you to exclaim, “I get itâ€

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In hot, dry climates, evaporative type air conditioners are used to cool houses. They simply use a fan to pull dry outside air through a matt that is kept saturated with water then exhaust the moistened air to the interior of the house. The water cools the air as it evaporates because it is changing in state from a liquid to a gas. Many chemicals, including Freon and propane, have that same property.

Here in Louisiana, it's also hot but too humid for an evaporative AC, so refrigerant gases like Freon are used instead. Since these gases are both expensive (and asphyxiating), we don't let them loose into the air. We recycle them with a compressor and condenser coil to return them to the liquid state whereupon the cycle is repeated.

Right behind me, as I sit here, is a humidifyer that keeps the air in my house from becoming too dry in the winter. It too, pulls air through a matt that is saturated with water. The label on this device says 'Humidifyer' but it might as well say 'evaporative air conditioner' because it will cool the room for as long as the air stays dry.

Marc

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In hot, dry climates, evaporative type air conditioners are used to cool houses. They simply use a fan to pull dry outside air through a matt that is kept saturated with water then exhaust the moistened air to the interior of the house. The water cools the air as it evaporates because it is changing in state from a liquid to a gas. Many chemicals, including Freon and propane, have that same property.

Here in Louisiana, it's also hot but too humid for an evaporative AC, so refrigerant gases like Freon are used instead. Since these gases are both expensive (and asphyxiating), we don't let them loose into the air. We recycle them with a compressor and condenser coil to return them to the liquid state whereupon the cycle is repeated.

Right behind me, as I sit here, is a humidifyer that keeps the air in my house from becoming too dry in the winter. It too, pulls air through a matt that is saturated with water. The label on this device says 'Humidifyer' but it might as well say 'evaporative air conditioner' because it will cool the room for as long as the air stays dry.

Marc

Completely missed the point, eh?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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In hot, dry climates, evaporative type air conditioners are used to cool houses. They simply use a fan to pull dry outside air through a matt that is kept saturated with water then exhaust the moistened air to the interior of the house. The water cools the air as it evaporates because it is changing in state from a liquid to a gas. Many chemicals, including Freon and propane, have that same property.

Here in Louisiana, it's also hot but too humid for an evaporative AC, so refrigerant gases like Freon are used instead. Since these gases are both expensive (and asphyxiating), we don't let them loose into the air. We recycle them with a compressor and condenser coil to return them to the liquid state whereupon the cycle is repeated.

Right behind me, as I sit here, is a humidifyer that keeps the air in my house from becoming too dry in the winter. It too, pulls air through a matt that is saturated with water. The label on this device says 'Humidifyer' but it might as well say 'evaporative air conditioner' because it will cool the room for as long as the air stays dry.

Marc

Completely missed the point, eh?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

He'll catch on, give him a few months to get familiar. It'll take at least that long to get through the egos and the posturing before he figures out that we're a bunch of deep thinking softies.

Tom

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  • 1 month later...

Here is the most universally understood analogy I've come up with to justify plumbing vents to inquisitive clients. It seems that for as long as I've been doing inspections, most people think the sole purpose of plumbing "vents" is, naturally, to vent all the nasty gases. I always explain, "Well, that's a nice fringe benefit from plumbing vents, but the best way to appreciate the function of a plumbing vent is to imagine a full straw of coke trapped in a drinking straw by your thumb. What happens the instant you lift your thumb from the top of the straw best demonstrates the need and benefit of plumbing vents." People can never conceal that smile that instantly occurs from that imagery.

It's always a little "teacher" rush, when folks look at you, smile and nod their head affirming that you just taught them something that they previously did not comprehend.

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It's always a little "teacher" rush, when folks look at you, smile and nod their head affirming that you just taught them something that they previously did not comprehend.

This often happens when I'm describing why you may get "lit" (non-Marijuana) when touching your refrigerator and the sink faucet ala non-grounded outlet. I have found a lot of folks have had a first hand experience with this phenomenon.

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Lol, Yeah, I recieved first hand expience of that one myself about three years ago on an inspection. I leaned up against clothes washer plugged into an ungrounded outlet, or it may, actually, have been a reversed polarity, outlet, to pop the cover on a breaker panel. But nonetheless, yada.. yada... yada...

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