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The Magic of Cool Air: How Your Home A/C Works

Warm and cold air recycled

Posted: May 23, 2018

You rely on your air conditioning system all summer to keep your home cool and healthy—but do you know how your home air conditioner actually works?

Many people think that their air conditioner just supplies cool air into the home, but it actually does double duty. To keep your home comfortable, it also needs to pull the heat out of a home too.

This is made possible through physics of evaporation. Imagine how your skin feels after rubbing alcohol is applied. The cooling sensation you feel is caused by the alcohol drawing heat away from your skin as it turns from a liquid to a gas. Your air conditioner basically uses the same principle to cool your home.

Air Conditioning 101

Here is a tutorial on home A/C with five simple explanations.

  1. Within your A/C system are two coils – an aptly named evaporator coil (located inside your house) and a condenser coil (located outside your house).
  2. Traveling within and between these coils is refrigerant – a chemical that has the ability to change from a liquid to a gas very quickly, quickly transferring heat in the process (just like the rubbing alcohol did in the example above). Older R22 is one type of refrigerant (one that will be phased out by 2020); R410A is a newer, more environmentally-friendly refrigerant.
  3. Passing along the indoor evaporator coil, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding air, leaving cooled air behind for redistribution to your house.
  4. Meanwhile, the refrigerant – now a warm gas, thanks to the heat it has drawn from your air – travels to the outdoor unit, where the condenser coil squeezes all the heat out of the refrigerant, turning it back into a liquid.
  5. The compressor’s fan then pushes the heat it has gathered into the outdoor air, while the cool liquid is recycled and sent back to perform its heat transfer duties once again.

Of course, these are just the basic principles. The process is a little more complicated than that – which is why you need a professional cooling technician to service your home A/C unit every year to make sure your equipment keeps working properly.

For expertise on all types of air conditioners – from ductless systems to traditional central air – no one beats the pros at Wilson. Contact us today for your air conditioner repairs, new equipment installations or to sign up for a high-value Air Conditioning Service Plan.