Go Back

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

hvac faq Dutch Enterprises

FAQs About Air Conditioner Services

With the availability of free information on the internet, many people consider themselves do-it-yourselfers. The confidence given by almost unlimited information inspires many people to take on hobbies and home improvement projects that were previously left to skilled professionals. This is true in almost all areas of homeownership except for air conditioners.

Air conditioners remain a mystery to many people but only because of their perceived complexity. At their root, air conditioners operate on fairly simple principles that have been manipulated for over a century to provide us with safety and comfort. This article will answer some of your FAQ's about how air conditioners work.

What Are Some Different Air Conditioner Parts?

ac partsAir conditioner parts can be easily divided, think of your air conditioner as two distinct but interconnected parts: the indoor system and the outdoor system. The indoor system contains the blower and ductwork that distribute cold air around your home.

The indoor blower system also contains a component called the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil contains cold refrigerant and it is the main component that provides the cooling power of the air conditioner.

Your home’s indoor system probably is installed in a closet, basement, or attic and is the place where filters are changed. The outdoor unit is controlled by the indoor unit. The outdoor unit contains a compressor, a fan, and another coil called the condenser coil.

The condenser coil contains refrigerant that has come from the indoor system. It is the main job of the outdoor unit to recycle the hot refrigerant and prepare it to return back to the indoor system to cool again. You can recognize the outdoor unit because it probably takes up space in your backyard and blows hot air. The thermostat is part of the indoor system and communicates with the indoor system to tell it when to cycle the system on.

The thermostat is usually the only component of the AC system that people interface with. Refrigerants are special chemicals that make the whole operating principle possible. In the past, refrigerants were known for their dangerous environmental consequences. While modern refrigerants are safer, they are still only legally handled by professional tradesmen.

What Happens in a Working AC?

working ac

In a working AC, the compressor’s job is to put refrigerant under pressure. When pressure is applied the refrigerant becomes hot and turns into a gas.

The hot refrigerant is then cycled through the condenser coil where a fan works to cool it off and condense it back to a liquid.

The liquid is then pumped into your home’s blower unit where it goes through a special valve that allows it to expand back to a gas. In the process of expansion, the gas becomes very cold.

If you’ve ever used an air duster to clean your electronics and you feel the can get cold as you spray it then you know how this works. The cold, gaseous refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil.

As the evaporator coil is cold, the indoor blower pushes air past the cold coil. This cold air is what you feel coming out of your ductwork. The refrigerant is warmed in the process and it returns back to the outdoor unit to start the process over.

When to Get Professional Help

pro helpAs you can see, the operating principle of air conditioners is relatively simple. However, the reason air conditioners remain a mystery, even to people willing to tackle complex projects, is because repairing air conditioners is a delicate process.

Air conditioners contain volatile, high-pressure gasses as refrigerants that can only be manipulated with proper licensure. Refrigerant pressures must be carefully maintained within specific thresholds.

If you are having trouble with your air conditioner, verify that your thermostat is working properly then call a professional. Knowing the information contained in this article can help you provide them with valuable information that can make repairs go quicker and smoother.

About Dutch Enterprises

Dutch Enterprises has been serving the Cape Girardeau, MO area since 1962. Not only do they provide expert HVAC services, but they also are a licensed plumbing contractor. Contact them to enjoy reliable and personalized air conditioning services.