The Sacramento Valley has become a triple-digit environment. Summer temps average in the 90s and frequently soar above 100 degrees. These relentless temperatures are more than a heat wave\u2014they\u2019re closer to the entire sea! As the heat index soars across much of the country, it serves us well to be aware of the complexity of staying cool and safe. As we enter what will likely be the hottest period of the year, an air conditioning system that is both effective and efficient remains critical for our comfort and the most economical draw on the public energy grid. No one wants a surprise like a failing cooling system during the dead of summer. For over 25 years, Bell Brothers have attended to HVAC needs in the Capital Region, Stockton, Modesto and Vacaville. Known throughout the region as the No Surprise Guys, Kenny and Jerry Bell built their business by taking the guesswork out of residential HVAC systems, from custom plans to estimates. Today, every member of the 200-employee company personally understands the importance of quick repair and the many benefits of installing a modern system that provides steady interior temperatures while drawing much less from the local energy provider. Whether installing a brand new system or repairing or overhauling an existing one, these stellar technicians treat every home as if it\u2019s their own. But even with a professional on the case, it\u2019s critical for homeowners to be educated about their home\u2019s systems. We should all learn about how our AC works and be on the lookout for potential system failures during the dog days of summer. Air conditioners are among the more mysterious appliances in our home. The technology used to cool the inside air has evolved over the years\u2014and continues to evolve\u2014more than any other. And as with so much of technology, the more you know about the specifics of your air conditioner, the better the system, and the better prepared you will be to maintain comfort and economy in your home. The air conditioning unit is comprised of five key components. The refrigerant is a fluid that extracts heat from the air. The evaporator coils, located inside the unit, contain the refrigerant and cool the air as it enters. The indoor blower pushes the cooled air into the home. A faulty or worn-out fan can drastically reduce the efficiency of the unit, resulting in a less than optimal environment. The compressor pushes the extracted heat out of the home via the outside unit. Finally, the condensing coil transforms the gas into liquid form and sends it outside the home. The refrigerant also returns to a liquid state, where it again acts as a cooling agent. Not surprisingly, a flaw in any one of these five critical components will lead to an inefficient system throughout, resulting in a strained system that produces less cool air and higher costs. Like most appliances, air conditioning units eventually wear out and require replacement of some, or all, components of the system. Bell Brothers technicians are trained to assess every air conditioning unit to determine its level of efficiency and how, if necessary, the unit can be overhauled, repaired or replaced for the best results. Like the system itself, the complex installation process contains several elements. The U.S. Department of Energy has stated that replacing your old unit with a similarly sized unit is rarely the best solution, due to the dramatic improvement in air conditioners over the past several decades. Determining the heat load required by your system is the first step to efficiently cooling a home. Load calculations have also become a critical first step in replacing a unit. The unit dimensions are an important development in the revolutionary development of HVAC systems. A unit of a different size will carry unique configurations, including duct locations and fan inlets and outlets. A technician can best assess the necessary changes required to replace a unit. The unit placement is also critical, in terms of efficiency, convenience and yes, aesthetics. A technician also secures each unit from struts to padding. Of course, placement is just one of several levels of integration, including ductwork, plumbing and electrical components. Finally, technicians monitor the new or overhauled unit to maintain peak performance throughout the life of the appliance. Air conditioning units have never worked harder than they do today, when summer temperatures rarely dip below 80 degrees. Most units last no more than ten years, but consistent professional maintenance can often extend your AC system\u2019s life. The new air conditioners continue to maximize efficiency and improve the comfort in our homes over a longer period. If you suspect your air conditioning system is not up to snuff as we enter the hottest period of a very hot summer, speak with a Bell Brothers technician to learn how you can maximize the life of your AC unit, or visit bellbroshvac.com.