Air Conditioning Behind the Scenes

When the temperature warms up in the house, you head over to the thermostat and lower the setting. This triggers the air conditioning system to kick in and pump the nice, cool air into your home. All you had to do was push a button or flip a switch, but there was a lot of behind the scenes work going on for that cool air to blow in.

Whenever the thermostat signals your air conditioner to lower the temperature, a sequence of events takes place. The air handling unit begins drawing air in from various parts of the house through return air ducts. This air is pulled through a filter where airborne particles are removed. Then the air is then cooled and re-routed to ductwork which carries it back into the house. This cycle continues every time the air conditioner is running. Now that have the big picture of how an air conditioner works, let’s break it down a little further.

An air conditioner has three main parts – a condenser, a compressor and an evaporator. The compressor and condenser are usually located in the outdoor unit. A refrigerant or cooling agent such a R-22 circulates between copper tubing that runs between the components.

The refrigerant receives and releases heat raising and lowering in temperature. When it does this it changes from liquid to gas and then back to liquid again. When it first begins to circulate through the indoor coil, it is extremely cold. As the air is pushed across the coil, the refrigerant absorbs the heat. When enough heat is absorbed, the refrigerant then turns to vapor. The vapor then travels to the compressor and is pressurized and moves to the outdoor coil. There the heat is forced out. A fan helps to dissipate the heat. Then the refrigerant passes through a device that converts it to a low-temperature liquid and is then returned to the indoor coil. Then the cycle starts all over again.

As you can see, your air conditioner goes through a lot to keep you cool and comfortable. So, make sure you do your part in helping to keep the unit running smoothly with yearly maintenance with a reputable heating and air company. And remember the next time you turn down that thermostat to be thankful for all the behind the scenes work that goes on to keep you cool and comfortable.

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