How Does My Air Conditioner Work?

Residential heating and air conditioner compressor units near residential house

An air conditioner is a standard appliance in indoor comfort. The Energy Information Administration reports that AC units account for almost 20 percent of yearly electricity consumption in the US. At Arise, we believe that knowledge is power: The more you know about the appliances you are using, the more effectively you can operate them.

There are Four Main Components to Your Air Conditioner:

1. Evaporator Coil (Indoor) – receives the liquid refrigerant
2. Blower motor (located inside the Indoor furnace or air handler) – pushes air
3. Condenser Coil (Outdoor) – facilitates the heat transfer
4. Compressor (Outdoor) – pump that pressurizes the refrigerant

Refrigeration Cycle

Have you ever wondered how an AC works? The refrigerant flows in a continuing cycle through the air conditioner, starting as a liquid then going through phase conversion to become a gas. Through this conversion, the refrigerant absorbs heat. Refrigerant is the chemical used that allows this phase conversion to occur at low temperatures. This continuous conversion cycle creates what we know as modern air conditioning.

Fans located in the indoor unit pull room air into and across the sealed evaporator coil. The refrigerant inside the evaporator coil absorbs the heat from the air as it blows across it. The refrigerant turns into vapor, allowing it to absorb the heat. As air continues to blow across the evaporator coil it cools down and continues through the duct system. The refrigerant in vapor form passes into the compressor. This vapor gets compressed to an even higher pressure and temperature. Next, the vapor flows through the condenser coil which turns it back into a liquid as the heat is radiated away.

To summarize: the heat from the conditioned air is absorbed by the refrigerant and carried through the AC system to be released outside, while the cooled air is recirculated inside.

Moisture Control

An air conditioner also works as a dehumidifier. As the refrigerant absorbs heat it also pulls moisture from the air. This moisture drips into a collection pan inside your evaporator unit which drains into a pipe that carries it outside to drain. In Cedar Park, TX, a unit can pull seven to eight gallons of water from your conditioned air in a single day.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to schedule service, call us at 512.267.5000 or request service online today.

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