How Your Air Conditioner Works

a photo of an air conditioner unit

For most of us, the highest level of interaction we have with our air conditioners on a regular basis comes from adjusting the thermostat. When you think about it, the relationship is sort of superficial. We issue commands and expect the system to do its job. But do we ever consider the work our air conditioners put into keeping us cool?

Understanding how your AC works can make life a lot easier when it comes to diagnosing unexpected problems and getting the most efficient use out of your system. Here, we’ll tell you all about the ins and outs of your air conditioner and what is does to keep your home comfortable.

Air Conditioner Lingo

Before delving into how your air conditioner works, we’ll define a few key terms to help it all make sense.

Refrigerant – A substance chemically known as a hydrofluorocarbon, which circulates through an air conditioner to absorb and expel heat.

Evaporator – An indoor component of the air conditioner, where refrigerant evaporates from a liquid to a gas.

Condenser – An outdoor component of an air conditioner, where refrigerant is condensed under a high pressure.

Compressor – Part of an air conditioner that works in conjunction with the condenser to transform refrigerant from a hot, gaseous state to a cool liquid.

Expansions Valve – A device that regulates the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator.

The Air Conditioning Process

Essentially, an air conditioner cools the air in your home by running refrigerant through a connected system of parts. When the air inside your home moves across the evaporator, the refrigerant in the evaporator coils retains the air’s temperature. When the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air, it evaporates from a liquid to a vapor. Within this process, the refrigerant transforms from a cool liquid to a hot vapor and the air, which the heat was removed from, goes from being warm to cool.

The refrigerant, which has been vaporized, now moves into the compressor, where it compressed into a high-heat, high-pressure gas. The gas then moves into the condenser, where it is cooled off and transformed back into a liquid. The cool refrigerant returns to the home, where it enters the evaporator through the expansion valve to begin absorbing heat again.

Show Your Air Conditioner Some Love

Now that you know how much work goes into cooling your home, can you blame your air conditioner for acting up from time to time? especially if you’re not giving it proper care? With so many parts working together at once, it’s important to make sure each component is working efficiently at all times.

To keep your AC running in tip-top shape, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater offers a variety of air conditioning maintenance programs. Boost your system’s efficiency and prevent future breakdowns by signing up for a maintenance program today!