Your air conditioner works hard all summer long to keep your home cool so that you and your loved ones can be comfortable. Learn the basic workings of your air conditioning system, and you can help it do its job better with less energy.
How your air conditioner works
Air conditioning systems use the principles of refrigeration to remove heat from air (thus making it cooler), and then transfer the absorbed heat to air in another location. In the case of home cooling, heat is absorbed from warm household air, and transferred and released to the air outside your home. This is how it works:
- Refrigerant is pumped through copper tubing and heat-exchanger coils (evaporator and condenser) by the compressor.
- At the indoor evaporator, liquid refrigerant vaporizes under low pressure, and becomes cold.
- A fan blows air from the return ductwork across the evaporator.
- Free airflow is needed to help vaporize the refrigerant efficiently, which removes heat from the air.
- The cooled air, minus a significant amount of heat and moisture, is blown through the supply ducts to the living spaces.
- The vaporized refrigerant flows to the compressor located outside the home, where the refrigerant is squeezed in preparation for heat release.
- The hot refrigerant vapor enters the condenser coil under high pressure, and it becomes even hotter as it is condensed into liquid state.
- The outside fan forces hot summer air across the condenser, which instigates the refrigerant to release heat.
- Heat release is possible because no matter how high of temperature summer air may reach, the refrigerant is still hotter. (The laws of physics dictate that heat naturally seeks and moves to a cooler location, which makes refrigeration principles possible.)
- The somewhat cooler refrigerant leaves the condenser and flows back to the evaporator.
- This cooling cycle repeats until the thermostat(s) setting(s) is reached. In the case of a high-efficiency air conditioner, the cooling cycle runs nearly continuously, but usually at a slower speed, keeping temperatures within one degree of the thermostat setting for optimal comfort and efficiency.
To learn more about your air conditioner, or to schedule air-conditioning service for comfortable and efficient cooling all summer long, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing today. We provide quality services to the Greater Cleveland area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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