Summer is right around the corner in Ottawa, and as the temperatures rise, you will likely be looking for ways to keep cool. In ancient, and not so ancient times, people had to find ways to cool down, using water and fans in various ways. Finally, in the 1900s, air conditioners were invented, but they were still few and far between, for several decades. Now most people have air conditioning in their homes, which helps keep suffering through heat and humidity at a minimum.

Unlike fans, which simply blow the air and may cool a bit, air conditioners also work to take moisture out of the air. Humidity can be a major factor in how hot you feel, but the air conditioner can seriously reduce it.

An air conditioner includes fans, but also a compressor, a hot exterior coil (condenser), a cold interior coil (compressor), and an expansion valve. After the compressor converts the refrigerant gas to a liquid, this liquid is then pumped into the cooling coil and is again turned to gas. The gas absorbs heat as air is blown over the cooling coil. The purpose of the expansion valve is to ensure the proper amount of liquid refrigerant reaches the evaporator. As refrigerant makes its way through tubes to all the components of the air conditioner, moisture from the air is cooled and the liquid drips into a drain or pan.

There are window air conditioners, which will cool a relatively small area, whereas a central air conditioner will cool an entire home or building. Central air may cost more at installation, but the efficiency in the long run is much greater. The compressor for a central air unit is typically outside, or it may have an indoor cabinet for the evaporator and often a furnace, and an outdoor cabinet for the compressor and condenser. These types of air conditioners are hooked up to the same ventilation and ductwork system as the furnace or heater.

Since the summers in Ottawa can get pretty hot, a central air conditioner can save money in the long run, although a window or wall unit may be cheaper to install. Central air not only cools whole homes or buildings, but you can also purchase systems that include remote controls and programmable thermostats. You can set up a sleep mode, or use the fan only on less humid days. The dehumidifying abilities of central air are also far superior to that of other kinds of air conditioners.

You do not need to spend your summer days sweltering at home. There are plenty of air conditioning choices to help you and your family stay cool, no matter what the temperatures are outside.