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How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Have you ever wondered how your home's air conditioner works? It is a common misconception to think that an air conditioner makes cold air and then blows it throughout your home via its network of ductwork. However, it is not quite that simple. The marvel of air conditioning relies on the science of heat transfer and mechanical processes to bring you cooled air.

 

3 Main Parts to Your Central Air System

There are three major parts to your central air system that assist in the process of cooling your home. The condenser and compressor are located outside in the exterior component of your system. In the third part, the evaporator is located inside the air handler of your system that may also be a part of your heating system. Each of these three parts plays an important part in the heat transfer process that cools the air.

 

The Cooling Process in 3 Steps

Your air conditioner transfers the heat from inside your home to the outside. This is accomplished with the use of the refrigerant that runs through your system, which you might know as Freon/R-22 (older systems) or Puron/R-410A (newer systems).

 
  1. The heat transfer process begins with at your air conditioner's compressor where the refrigerant is in a low-pressured gas form. As this gas passes through the compressor, it is put under pressure that causes it to heat up. This now hot and pressurized gas flows to the system's condenser. The heat is then dispersed through the condenser's aluminum fins.

  2. As the heat disperses, the now cooled gas converts to a high-pressurized liquid. This liquid is sent to the system's evaporator through a small opening where its pressure drops, and it begins to evaporate back to its gaseous state. As the refrigerant converts to gas, it extracts the heat in the air in your home.

  3. The blower fan that is connected to your air conditioner's evaporator circulates the air inside your home. Warm air is introduced into the system through the returns in your home where it passes through the evaporator where the heat is extracted.

If all goes well, this process continues until the temperature set on your thermostat is reached.


The key to keeping your home's central air working is regular maintenance and making repairs to your system at the first sign of a problem. In the Austin area, do not hesitate to contact Texas AC & Plumbing Specialist for all your air conditioning concerns.
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