When purchasing an HVAC system, you're getting a whole package. So, you're getting heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. There are a few ways that you can power the system. You can use electricity, gas, oil, or propane. If you're wondering which fuel type an air conditioner uses, let's go over the details.
When picking a fuel type for an HVAC system, it will always concern powering the furnace. Most air conditioners will use electricity to operate. However, there are gas-powered central air conditioners on the market too. Though, they're not common for home-usage.
As you are looking for an HVAC system, learning how it operates thoroughly isn't a concern that comes to mind. The main consideration is how efficient it runs and if it can heat and cool your home. So, if you'd like to learn how the system operates, keep reading ahead.
What Does HVAC Mean?
Before we go over fuel types, you might want to know what professionals mean by HVAC. HVAC is a term you will hear a lot when looking for heating and cooling appliances for your home. Sometimes, people will use HVAC and AC interchangeably.
HVAC refers to the overall system. So, professionals use HVAC and AC interchangeably because they deal with both heating and cooling solutions. Two major appliances work together in an HVAC system. More specifically, a furnace and an air conditioner share the same distribution method.
In other words, they use ducts and vents to cycle air into your home. However, while they may share the same distribution system, a furnace and an air conditioner still work independently. Therefore, they're not one entire unit.
How Do HVAC Systems Work?
Understanding how an HVAC system works is the first step to understanding what powers them. How it operates is where you probably have some confusion. In general, most HVAC systems will use a furnace and an AC.
There are several types of furnaces that you can use. Some furnaces will use natural gas, oil, propane, or electricity to heat your home. The variety you see for a furnace is not the same for air conditioners.
The two types you'll see are window and central units. Window air conditioners are less powerful and can only cool a single room. Central air conditioners have the power to cool an entire home. Though, as you might have noticed, there are no fuel options.
A window and central AC will use electricity to provide cool air. Now, that brings up another concern. Since a furnace and an AC work together, does that mean they use a single fuel type? As mentioned, they only share a distribution system.
So, they operate independently. When the furnace stops working, you can still use your AC. The same thought process applies vice-versa.
Can You Run An AC If Gas Is Cut Off?
Now, let's say you're in a situation where your gas is cut off. Can you still use the air conditioner? Yes! The air conditioner only runs on electricity. It does not share the need for gas like a furnace.
However, if you try to use a furnace without gas, it will only blow cold air. In general, lack of gas will only affect the furnace in an HVAC system.
What Gas Does An AC Use?
While air conditioners don't use gas as fuel, they use a type of gas to cool your home. Older central air conditioners use a refrigerant gas known as Freon. The newer ones will use Puron.
These two types of refrigerant gases are the only ones that will matter for an air conditioner. If the AC somehow manages to run out of it, it will no longer work. However, running out of refrigerants is nearly impossible.
Refrigerants are inside an enclosed system. It cycles continuously throughout the AC to provide you with cold air. The only time you'll need a refill is when there's a leak.
You'll need to find the source of the leak to begin the repair process. Once you find it, an HVAC technician will need to remove the remaining refrigerant, fix the leak, and refill it.
Can A Home Air Conditioner Be Gas Powered?
Air conditioners that use electricity are the most common type you'll find. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a gas-powered air conditioner. Gas-powered air conditioners aren't a new concept.
They're an old type. Air conditioners that use gas were popular back in the day. But, electrical ACs took the lead because they were cheaper to run. Still, gas-powered ACs manage to stick around.
They are mostly used for commercial settings. If you want to have one for home usage, it can be challenging to find a provider. So, what does a gas-powered air conditioner do that an electrical one can't?
Benefits of a Gas-Powered Air Conditioner
While gas-powered air conditioners might not be as popular as before, they can still hold their own. Modern gas ACs are more efficient than their predecessors. They cool large homes with open spaces well.
Gas-powered air conditioners also require fewer repairs than electrical ones. If they do need repairs, it will cost a lot more. It costs more to repair a gas AC because few companies work on them.
However, gas ACs do tend to last longer. Of course, your energy bill will depend on the cost of gas. You'll need to consult a professional if you're considering purchasing a gas-powered AC. This way, they can determine if the unit is efficient for the area you reside in.
How Long Should Your AC Run A Day?
When running an AC, you should pay attention to its behavior. An air conditioner doesn't run all day. At least, not in the sense that you think it would. Instead of running continuously, an air conditioner goes in cycles.
In general, it should run in cycles of 15-20 minutes. It can run longer during days of extreme weather. If it runs longer during mild conditions, it could indicate something's wrong.
There are multiple reasons why an air conditioner would run for longer than 20 minutes. It can be a case of purchasing an oversized unit, component defects, or thermostat setting issues. Regardless, you'll want to address the problem before it becomes a costly repair.
Is It Better to Leave AC Fan On or Auto?
There are a few settings on an HVAC system's thermostat. Yet, the two you'll find yourself worrying about are the ON and Auto settings. Which one would be the more efficient choice?
If you use the ON setting, the blower fan will run constantly. It runs even when there isn't cold air to distribute. On the other hand, the Auto setting lets the fan run only when it needs to cool the room.
So, the most energy-efficient choice would be to leave the fan on Auto. This way, it won't run continuously. Nevertheless, there are some benefits to using the AC fan with the ON setting.
Thermostat Fan ON Setting
Sometimes, efficiency isn't the primary concern. When you leave the AC fan on, you allow it to run uninterrupted. It's good for the fan because it won't have to stop and start up constantly.
A constant flow of air also decreases the chance of hot or cold spots within your home. The reason is that the fan will distribute warm or cold air evenly throughout. Additionally, since ACs use filters, the air in your home should be cleaner.
Though, constant filtration means you'll have to replace the filter sooner. It also costs more money to keep the fan running. In any case, it's a matter of preference if you see this as a fair tradeoff.
Is It OK for AC to Run All Day?
As mentioned above, air conditioners run in cycles. Once temperatures in a room increase, the AC will turn on to provide cool air. After the room reaches the temperature setting you've set on the thermostat, the AC will shut off.
That's a general outlook of how it operates. In some circumstances, you might find that the AC is running all day. So, it's not cycling as it should be. When this happens, there are a few problems that could be present.
The first potential problem would relate to the size of the AC. When it's too small, it could be running all day because it can't cool your home. At most, some rooms will be cold, while others will be warm.
If your AC isn't a recent purchase, it might be an issue of poor airflow. Over time, dirt builds up in the filter and the vents. When the air filter gets too dirty, air won't be able to pass as much. The same thought process goes if there are any blockages in the vent.
Once you clean or replace the parts for these areas, the AC should be able to cycle.
Sometimes it's not clear how a system works. As we've learned, the AC and furnace in an HVAC system work independently. So, the AC won't use the same fuel as the furnace. We hope you found the information above helpful!
Before you go, do you have other AC concerns? Are you wondering how long it should take to cool a room? To learn more, check out our post:
How Long Should My AC Take To Cool [7 Factors To Consider]
Do you need help learning how to maintain the air conditioner filter? We can help! You can find out more by checking out:
Do Central Air Conditioners Have Filters [And How To Maintain Them]