If you have ever wondered exactly how an air conditioner works to cool down your home, you may be surprised at the answer. Basically, an air conditioner removes heat from one area and places it in another. Cooling down is actually a byproduct of this cycle. That may seem confusing, but after reading this article, it is to be hoped you will be confident that you understand air conditioner fundamentals.
Your air conditioner works because of the refrigeration cycle. Refrigerant is the substance that is inside the copper tubing that connects the two components of your air conditioner and cycles between liquid and vapor depending on the cycle stage. First, when your return unit switches on, it pulls air from your house over an evaporator coil full of cold refrigerant. As this is happening, the heat in the air is collected by the coil and the air that flows out of your vents is cool.
Then, the refrigerant that was just heated up by the warm air turns to vapor inside the coil and travels to the outdoor unit and into the compressor. The compressor is necessary, because the refrigerant needs to be heated up even more so that it can be hotter than the temperature outside. This is because heat flows from warm areas to cool areas very easily.
After the refrigerant is heated up to a sufficient amount, it is dispersed to the condenser coil that surrounds the outdoor unit. The heat stored in the refrigerant is then pulled out by a large fan positioned on the top of the unit. This fully removes the heat from the refrigerant so that it is able to cool once again and begin the process all over once your thermostat switches on. In order to cool down enough, the refrigerant is then sent to a device that allows it to expand, making the temperature drop significantly. At this point, the refrigerant is once again ready for the first step of the process.
If you have further questions about the ins and outs of air conditioner fundamentals, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Wolff Mechanical.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock