Although about 86 percent of American homes have air conditioning, few people know how their system works. Knowing a little about how your air conditioner keeps your Fort Wayne area home cool during the long, hot summer can help you troubleshoot common air conditioning problems, as well as effectively communicate with your service technician when repairs are needed.
The refrigerant in your system travels through three main components to absorb heat energy from your home and send it outdoors.
The evaporator. Located in your indoor unit, the refrigerant enters the evaporator as a cool liquid. The pressure drops, and the refrigerant evaporates into a gas, extracting the heat from the air blown across the evaporator coil by the system's fan. The humidity in the air condenses on the evaporator coil and drips into the condensate pan beneath the coil, where it's drained through a PVC pipe.
The compressor. The refrigerant enters the compressor, located in your outdoor unit, as a low-pressure, cool gas. The compressor squeezes it, packing the molecules together to turn the refrigerant into a hot, high-pressure gas.
The condenser. The hot gas travels to the condenser, also located outdoors. The fins of the condenser unit act as a radiator, dispersing the heat energy outside and turning the refrigerant back into a cool liquid. The refrigerant is sent back to the evaporator and the cycle begins again.
The efficiency of your air conditioner depends on clean coils, the correct refrigerant charge and optimum airflow. In addition to annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician, which considerably improves efficiency and extends the life of your system, there are several things you can do this summer to maintain optimum cooling and lower your utility bills:
- Check your air filter monthly and replace it when it's dirty.
- Spray down your outdoor unit to remove debris from the fins.
- Keep your return and supply registers free of obstructions for optimum airflow.
For more expert advice about the inner workings of your air conditioner, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., keeping Fort Wayne area residents comfortable year-round.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area 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.
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