How Does Central Air Conditioning Work in Silverado Ranch, NV? Function of Refrigerant, Thermostat & More

There is a common misconception that the air conditioner is responsible for adding cool your air to your home, but what it actually does is draw the heat in the air away from it. In the end, the space feels significantly cooler to folks because the room has quite a bit less heat. Much like a swab of alcohol makes a person’s skin feel cooler as the liquid evaporates, the A/C takes advantage of evaporation effects. The alcohol lowers the temperature on the skin seemingly so because the heat is drawn away from the air and changes it into a gas. With that in mind, we at Air Supply Heating and Air Conditioning would like to discuss the basics of how the central air conditioner works.

Refrigerant Used in Air Conditioners

A chemical with a unique ability to change from a gas to a liquid in a short amount of time, known as refrigerant, is found in every air conditioner. In addition to a small amount of lubricating oil for the compressor, the refrigerant is pumped into the unit. A compressor, a condenser, an expansion valve and a thermostat are the primary components of a standard A/C unit. While thin metal fins allow heat to dissipate quickly the motorized fans help to circulate the conditioned air. Being that the compressor must be durable enough to withstand a significant amount of pressure, it is generally the heaviest component in the unit.

Air Conditioning Basics; How a Central AC Works

Typically located at the bottom of the unit, the process of cooling an area begins with the refrigerant entering the compressor. The refrigerant is a cool gas to start with. The compressor squeezes the refrigerant and the gas becomes a very hot gas under high pressure as the gas enters the compressor’s inner chamber. Placed outside of the room being cooled are a series of condensing coils where the hot gas goes through. Much like a car’s radiator dissipating heat from the engine coolant, this hot gas goes through a series of condensing coils. By the time the refrigerant reaches the end of these coils, it is far less cooler in the liquid form. The liquid refrigerant is still under high pressure in order for it be forced through the expansion valve, which is a very tiny opening. The refrigerant begins to evaporate while traveling through another set of coils since it evaporates at a much lower temperature than water. The air contained in the room and all surrounding air removes the heat as the evaporation process occurs. The cooling sensation then stems from the unit’s fan blows across metal fins placed over these coils.

Air Conditioner Thermostat Settings

The entire process begins again until a thermostat registers a specific temperature and shuts off the compressor just after the liquid refrigerant has become a cold gas again and re-enters the compressor. The thermostat senses the added heat and the compressor kicks back on to create more of the hot pressurized gas when the room warms up. The temperature of the room may equal the cooling power of the air conditioner and the compressor will shut off again at some point.

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When your air conditioner is no longer keeping temperatures cool and comfortable or not doing it efficiently, something is amiss and with Air Supply Heating and Air Conditioning, our specialists can find the problem and get you back on the right path. Call us today for your central AC system repairs, maintenance, and installation services!