Most of us are used to air conditioners that run on electricity. But did you know there are natural gas air conditioners? Natural gas isn’t only great for heating, cooking, or powering a large industrial facility. It can keep your home cool plus offer a range of advantages. We’ll look at these but first provide an overview of how natural gas air conditioning works.
How Does Natural Gas Air Conditioning Work?
A natural gas AC differs most significantly from a traditional unit in that it doesn’t have a compressor. It does, however, use a liquid refrigerant that’s converted to a gas in response to changes in pressure. The refrigerant absorbs excess heat from the interior, is pumped through pipes to an exterior coil, and cooled as a blower moves air across the heated coil to release the heat outside. Heat is effectively excluded from interior air; the refrigerant is then re-cooled and compressed before the cycle is repeated.
Natural Gas AC Isn’t New
Natural gas technology was the primary means of cooling across the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s. By the 1960s, the low cost of electricity and availability of relatively low-cost, efficient models made electric air conditioning more popular. Very few natural gas ACs were in use by the 1990s. But while energy costs were rising, manufacturers began developing more efficient natural gas air conditioners. They continue to grow in popularity in the U.S., Japan, China, South Korea, and India.
Natural Gas AC Benefits
Investing in a new air conditioner powered by natural gas can have the following benefits:
- Improved Airflow: Natural gas ACs often deliver greater airflow than traditional systems, all the while using less ductwork. They can deliver cooler air as well and are suited to multi-zone cooling.
- Less Maintenance: Fewer moving parts mean less strain on the system and a lower chance of it breaking down during a summer heat wave.
- High Efficiency: Gas-powered ACs are extremely efficient when cooling large homes with open spaces. They’re also available in many sizes; a compact unit can provide cold air for a smaller space.
- Quiet Operation: Most natural gas air conditioners produce minimal noise. You won’t be distracted by one running, even if you are working very close to it.
- Eco-Friendly: By using natural gas, these air conditioners produce less carbon dioxide than traditional units, so there is less of a concern regarding greenhouse emissions.
- Waste Heat Is Reusable: Thermally driven natural gas ACs produce waste heat, which can be used for generating electricity. Some can be used with cogeneration and solar hot water systems.
However, gas-powered ACs cost more to install (on average, about $6,500). This means spending more money upfront, but there are plenty of opportunities to save in the long run. Repairs for gas systems can be expensive, but they’re generally few and far between compared to electric ACs. Gas units also last longer, which can allow you to see a higher return.
Is a Gas-Powered AC Right for My Home?
It mainly depends on how you use your air conditioner. If you have a high demand for air conditioning and live in a warmer climate (and your region experiences hot summers), gas-powered air conditioning can be an economical choice. It’s especially efficient in the summer months.
Contact Oregon Ductless to Learn More
Oregon Ductless is a premier installer of ductless heat pumps and traditional HVAC systems in Oregon. We provide high-quality ductless systems from Mitsubishi and Daikin along with high-quality service from our trained technicians. To schedule service, learn more about what we offer, and discuss financing, call 503-563-8201 today.