When the temperature soars, the relief from your air conditioner is much appreciated. Air conditioners work very much like large refrigerators, cooling the inside of your home the way a refrigeration system cools a fridge's inner compartments. By knowing how air conditioning works, you'll be better able to understand how it supplies that welcome cooling and will be more informed when the time comes for system maintenance or repair.
Most air conditioners have both an indoor and outdoor unit. The outdoor cabinet houses the condenser and compressor. The indoor unit contains the evaporator and the air handling system that moves conditioned air into your house.
A refrigerant is the substance responsible for absorbing and releasing heat as it circulates through a system of copper tubing connecting the indoor and outdoor units. Refrigerant arrives at the compressor as a low-pressure gas containing heat. The compressor pressurizes the gaseous refrigerant. When it leaves the compressor, the refrigerant is a hot gas under high pressure. It moves into the condenser, where much of the heat contained in the gaseous refrigerant is released.
In the condenser, the gaseous refrigerant changes back into liquid. The pressurized liquid refrigerant flows into the evaporator, where the pressure decreases and the refrigerant evaporates back into a gas. This change of state causes the refrigerant to absorb heat from the surrounding air. The evaporator coil chills down, creating the source of cooling for your home's indoor air. The gaseous refrigerant flows through the system and back to the compressor, where the cycle starts again.
Inside the indoor unit, the air handler blows air across the evaporator coil. The air is cooled and distributed throughout your home. The air cools your home's interior, then comes back to the system through return ducts. The air is filtered on its way back into the system and the airflow cycle repeats.
For almost 50 years, Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning has served HVAC customers in the Fort Wayne area. Contact us today for more information on air conditioning function or to schedule a professional maintenance appointment for your cooling system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.