How Does Your AC Work?
Most modern homes have central air conditioners as their main source of cool air, and as they greatly increase the comfort of a home during hot summer months, they are a great appliance to have.
But most homeowners really don't know much about air conditioners, which is why the below frequently asked questions have been compiled, to help educate homeowners and the public about how air conditioners work. Not only will it give you a better understanding of your system, but also it can help you know the AC services you need without waiting for an emergency.
What Are Air Conditioner Parts?
An air conditioner’s main job is to, of course, keep a home and space cool. It seems like a simple task but it’s not actually the only thing an AC unit does. It also has to monitor the indoor temperature to know when to cool a space.
Additionally, they filter the air and act as a dehumidifier, too, removing moisture from the air. But even with all of this, there are a few main components that keep an AC unit moving between the indoors and outdoors:
- Refrigerant: This is a chemical that changes between a gas and a liquid in the AC system to pull heat and cool air. It’s also known as freon.
- Evaporator: This receives the liquid refrigerant and evaporates it into a gas.
- Condenser: This helps transfer the heat inside the system.
- Expansion Valve: This part regulates the refrigerant flow into the evaporator.
- Compressor: This is a pump that pressurizes refrigerant, turning it into a liquid.
There are also drain lines, and vents and other pieces that all help make an HVAC unit work, but if you understand these AC parts, you’ll have a basic understanding of an air conditioner.
How Does an AC Work?
An air conditioner works by taking warm air from inside a house, removing the heat from the air, thereby cooling it, sending the cold air back into the house, and releasing the heat outdoors.
It seems like a simple process, but it actually has quite a few steps to accomplish this:
- Outside, the compressor circulates the refrigerant until it changes from a gas to a liquid.
- The liquid refrigerant is then sent indoors to the evaporator coils. The refrigerant cools the coils.
- A fan sends the indoor air over these coils, cooling the air, which also turns the liquid refrigerant back into a gas as it collects all the heat from the air.
- The warmed, gas refrigerant is sent back outside where the condenser works with the compressor to release the collected heat from indoors.
- Then the compressor once again turns the warm gas back into a cold liquid.
This process then repeats itself over and over until your house reaches the desired temperature.
Scheduling Professional Help
Now that you have a basic understanding of how your air conditioner works, you may be tempted to think you can handle any problems that come your way. But the truth is, AC units are more complicated and complex than this FAQ makes them seem.
They can face problems such as leaks and ice buildup, or frozen coils. And while it may be tempting to try and handle repairs yourself to save money, it may end up costing you more money in the long run.
Not to mention it could put yourself, and your friends and family in danger. This is because refrigerant is a dangerous chemical. It’s actually not safe to be around, which is why professionals are licensed and certified to handle it.
When refrigerant is in its gas state and inhaled, it can cause refrigerant or freon poisoning. If the poisoning is bad enough, it can actually be fatal. This is why it’s so important to leave the repairs and maintenance of your AC unit to professional tradesmen. They’ll make sure to keep your home safe and cool.
Trust Your Local Experts
G.F. Bowman, Inc. has been serving the Harrisburg, PA area for over 50 years. Their friendly and professional technicians are here to help you with your plumbing and HVAC needs. They make sure to go the extra mile to fulfill their promise and commitment to their customers.