Air conditioning explained: fight against the heat!

We are more and more used to it: heat waves during which the temperature is significantly higher for four or five days. How to keep your head and your house cool? We will be happy to reveal it to you.


Hot summers make people look for solutions to keep them cool at home. The bedroom, in particular, needs cooling, as we have all experienced poor sleep due to clammy heat. By the way, did you know that it is more difficult to cool in summer than to heat in winter? It takes three times more energy to cool a room one degree than to heat it one degree.


In this case, do not forget to think about an efficient air conditioning option and integrate it into your home. Either way, it’s easier and more elegant than having to add a solution later. A fixed air conditioning system is the most stable solution for keeping your home cool, but it is expensive. You should also consider installing a heat pump that can heat and cool.

If you are renting a house or an apartment, for example, you should look for a system that will not damage the dwelling and that you can take away. Even if you don’t plan to live there for many more years, choose a temporary solution. There are mobile air conditioning units, air coolers and fans. Read on for more explanation of the different principles.


Finally, there are a series of non-tech tips and tricks that protect your home from the heat. It all starts with the construction or renovation phase. A south-facing glazed façade causes problems. And given that today’s houses are better insulated and airtight, the heat escapes less easily. However, with a good ventilation system and some clever tips, you can certainly limit the inconvenience caused.


The principle of air conditioning is simple: a heat exchanger in the air conditioner absorbs the heat drawn in and cools the air. This cooled air is then blown into the room. An air conditioner cools the air a few degrees. However, for your health, it is important not to lower the indoor temperature too much: the difference with the outside air should not be excessive. Proper maintenance of your air conditioning unit is also essential to keep it in good condition.


A portable air conditioner is a practical solution. This type of device works with a drain pipe. This pipe must pass through a window. The downside is that you have to leave a window open when using the air conditioning. Fortunately, today there are specially dedicated closing systems. Your choice of air conditioner depends on different factors: the size of the room, the level of insulation, orientation to the sun, the size of the windows… You can only estimate the power required if you know these parameters.


To designate the power of air conditioners, the unit “BTU”, acronym for “British Thermal Unit”, refers to the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of 0.45 liters (or 1 pound) of water by one degree. . If your air conditioner’s BTU is too high for a room, the unit may be “over-revving” and will last less. If the BTU is too low, the room will not be cooled enough.


An air conditioning system consumes a lot of electricity. Preferably opt for a device with an A+ energy label. Also adapt the power to the room you want to cool. To this end, the BTU is a good guideline. Are there any other points you should pay attention to? Indeed: the appliance of your choice must operate with a natural refrigerant such as propane, ammonia or pentane. Synthetic variants are potentially harmful to the atmosphere when released into the air.


An air conditioner is an investment you want to enjoy for as long as possible. If you do not properly maintain the device, its efficiency will decrease and your safety and health will no longer be guaranteed. Replace the filters of the device as often as the user manual indicates. Also, an air conditioner needs good maintenance from time to time, just like your boiler. Do you want to ensure proper maintenance? In this case, ask a specialized technician to come and check the installation.


An air conditioning unit “conditions” or treats the air. The device can cool or heat, but often it can also dehumidify. An air cooler has a simpler operation: it cools the air by evaporating water in the room. The cooler the water in the tank, the cooler the blown air. It’s less efficient than an air conditioner, but it’s a more compact device, without a drain pipe. So it all depends on your exact cooling needs.


Since an air cooler evaporates water in the room, the humidity level can increase considerably. It is therefore necessary to ventilate during use. For example, place the device near an open window. It’s easy, because most air coolers have casters that allow them to be moved around easily. The additional indirect benefit of an air cooler is therefore that fresh air constantly enters the interior due to good ventilation. Air coolers also consume much less energy than an air conditioner and they are also considerably less expensive.


Apart from the air conditioning and the air cooler, you can choose to ventilate with a device specially designed for this purpose. A standard fan has blades that rotate and spread cool air around the unit. It’s very pleasant, but the temperature of the room does not go down. When it is really hot, therefore, a fan does not have a spectacular effect. The hot air is simply displaced a little. This does not take away from the fact that a fan can be very refreshing, on your desk for example.


There are also some tips for keeping yourself as cool as possible during a heat wave . Preferably drink lukewarm rather than iced drinks, opt for easily digestible food, do not practice sports too intensively, go easy on makeup (which insulates your skin, incredible, but true), place your feet in a bath of cold water or cool your wrists with cold water, take a lukewarm shower before going to sleep, wear loose clothing that allows the skin to breathe (e.g. cotton), etc.

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