How Do Air Conditioners Work?
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How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Knowing this will give you a newfound appreciation for your heating and cooling company

How your A/C works
Here is a simplified illustration of how your air conditioner works.

Everyone loves to be in a cool, climate-controlled room, especially on a hot and humid day in Michigan. However, have you ever wondered how the room gets to be that way? Have you ever thought to yourself, “How does an air conditioning system work?” Well, no need to spend hours trying to figure it out – we’ve done the work for you. Here’s how your air conditioning system keeps your home cool and you comfortable.

The Process of Cooling Your Home With an Air Conditioner

From the moment you turn on your air conditioner, this triggers the condenser fan and the compressor to turn on. The compressor then starts pumping a fluid called refrigerant throughout the system. The refrigerant is continuously changed from a vapor to a liquid to move the heat from inside your home to the outdoors. It enters the compressor as a low-temperature, low-pressure vapor. After it’s compressed, it leaves as a high-temperature, high-pressure vapor and then travels through the condenser coil, where the vapor condenses into a liquid. The heat it has collected inside your home and after compression is released outside with help from the condenser fan.

The refrigerant then leaves the condenser as a medium-temperature, high-pressure liquid and flows to a metering device. In most homes we deal with, a thermal expansion valve is used. The pin inside the thermal expansion valve adjusts the flow rate of refrigerant depending on the temperature at the evaporator end, using a ‘sensing bulb.’ As the liquid flows through the valve, the pressure drops significantly, releasing a low-temperature, low-pressure liquid-vapor mix.

The lower pressure allows room temperature air to heat the refrigerant. The chilled refrigerant then flows through the evaporator coil (above or below your furnace). The blower in your furnace begins moving air through your home’s air ducts. At the same time, room-temperature air is pulled in through the return duct and passes through your furnace filter to remove airborne pathogens and other particulates. The heat from the air is absorbed into the refrigerant inside the evaporator coil, dispersing chilled air through the supply duct.

As the cold air passes through the coil, the refrigerant is boiled and evaporates back into vapor form. Then the cycle is repeated until the thermostat reads that the room is at the desired temperature.

What products are typically included in central air conditioning system

A typical air conditioning system, often referred to as central air, normally includes:

  1. A thermostat that controls the system’s operation and monitors the indoor climate of your home
  2. An outdoor unit (air conditioner condenser). This houses the fan, condenser coil, and compressor used to move freon.
  3. A furnace (indoor unit) that houses the evaporator coil and fan)
  4. Copper tubing to transfer the refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units
  5. An expansion valve
  6. And ductwork

Is Your Air Conditioner Acting Funny?

If you notice that your air conditioner isn’t shutting off at the desired temperature or isn’t blowing cold air, we can help. Give us a call at 586-336-1111, and we’ll come out to investigate the issue.

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