Want to know what makes your air conditioner tick?
Although it may seem like it on the hottest of hot days, an air conditioner is not powered by magic. Like your toaster, your shower or your television, your air conditioner contains parts that keep it ticking. Ever wonder how your air conditioner works? Well, let me tell you…
- Connections. Your air conditioner works with either your air handler or evaporator coil (and gas furnace). Your air conditioner sits outside and connects to your indoor system by the lineset. This carries refrigerant between the two components.
- Indoors. Your air conditioner pumps refrigerant through your lineset to the indoor evaporator coil.
- The evaporator coil. Liquid refrigerant travels through the evaporator coil while warm air is blown across the coil. Heat moves from the warm air stream into the refrigerant. This cools the air blown over the coil and heats up the refrigerant – turning the refrigerant into a gas.
- Cool air distribution. The cool air travels to your home using your blower (located in your air handler or furnace) and ductwork.
- Back to the air conditioner. The refrigerant moves back to your air conditioner where the compressor pressurizes it.
- The other, outdoor coil. The pressurized refrigerant moves to the condenser coil. Here, heat moves into the air that is blown over the coil. This warm air is then blown outside. This is why when you stand next to your air conditioner it is blowing out HOT air. At this point, the refrigerant becomes a liquid again.
- Rinse and repeat. At this point, the process starts over again. It goes through this process until your thermostat detects the correct temperature.
While this is a basic explanation, it gets all the key points across. This is why it is so important that EVERY component in your system is working well. Make sure you contact a contractor before the peak cooling season. Have you contacted your contractor yet?
*NOTE: This is just the process for a split-system air conditioner. Packaged equipment and heat pumps operate differently.