Homeowner’s Guide to an HVAC Economizer

An HVAC economizer can help your central air conditioner operate more efficiently by inducting filtered outdoor air into the system airflow when conditions are appropriate. The sight of your central A/C still running extended cycles to keep the indoor environment comfortable—even after outdoor temperatures have cooled off considerably—can be disturbing. Residual heat in the house often means that the air conditioning process indoors lags considerably behind cooling air temperatures outside.

HVAC economizer components are connected to the existing home ductwork, adding a dedicated air intake duct with an electronically operated damper to  admit outdoor air. Here’s how the economizer works to add natural outside coolness to the system when outdoor temperatures permit:

  • When outdoor air is hotter than indoor air, the system continuosly recirculates indoor air cooled by the air conditioner as in standard cooling operation. The economizer’s air intake duct remains closed and incorporates an air-tight seal to prevent introduction of outdoor air.
  • When outdoor temperatures drop below indoor temperatures—typically after the sun goes down—sensors linked to the economizer’s controller signal the actuator to open the air intake damper. This allows an adjustable volume of cool outdoor air to enter the return duct of the central A/C system.
  • Cooler return air entering the air handler and flowing through the system coil reduces the load on the air conditioner.  Temperatures inside the house drop faster and cooler air also results in shorter compressor cycles and lower operating costs as well as reduced system wear and tear.
  • The introduction of fresh outdoor air into the system benefits indoor air quality, as well, by diluting stagnant air that may accumulate in an enclosed house. A typical HVAC economizer incorporates a high-efficiency air filter in the intake duct to remove particulates such as pollen from outdoor air and prevent contamination.

For more about the potential benefits of an HVAC economizer in your home, contact NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating.

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