At Air Supply Heating and Air Conditioning, one of our preferred air conditioning brands is Carrier and it’s not hard to see why when the first modern air conditioning system was developed in 1902 by Carrier! An air conditioner nowadays can be many different brands and sizes, but they all work with the same idea in mind; to cool down your home when the weather outside is hot. That is not all they do though. Air conditioners also monitor and regulate the indoor air temperature through the use of a thermostat. In addition, air conditioners have an on board filter that removes airborne particulates from the circulating air and also function as dehumidifiers.
How Does a Household Air Conditioner Work?
So how does an air conditioner actually work? Think of it like this: there is a compressor at the center. On one side, there is a ‘cold side’ with cold coils and on the other a ‘hot side’ with hot coils. The cold side of an air conditioner contains the evaporator and a fan that blows air over the chilled coils and into your home. The hot side of an air conditioner contains the compressor, condenser and another fan to vent the hot air coming off the compressed refrigerant going to the outdoors. In between the two sets of coils, there’s an expansion valve that regulates the amount of compressed liquid refrigerant moving into the evaporator. Once the refrigerant is in the evaporator, it experiences a pressure drop, expands and changes back into a gas. As part of the process of turning the refrigerant gas into a liquid, think of the compressor as a large electric pump that pressurizes the refrigerant gas to make this possible. There are also some additional sensors, timers and valves, but the evaporator, compressor, condenser and expansion valve are the main parts of an air conditioner.
Air Conditioner Compressor
The first thing all air conditioners have is an AC compressor. The compressor is what sends refrigerant to all the other parts of the air conditioning unit. The refrigerant is already in there, but it needs the use of the compressor to push it with more pressure to the rest of the unit. The compressor heats up and that heat allows the refrigerant to turn into a vapor.
Air Conditioner Condenser
The next step is the AC condenser. This is where the vapor is sent and used by the condenser to be cooled down. The condenser uses coils and a fan to cool the hot vapor down and turn it to a liquid form. This is what will help with cooling the air that is being returned from your home to the unit then eventually back into your home at a cooler temperature.
Air Conditioner Evaporator
The purpose of the ac evaporator is to extract heat from the ambient environment as the air in the room is sucked through its coils by the evaporator’s fans. Just as important as the air flow over the coils is changing the state of the refrigerant in the evaporator coils. Liquid refrigerant supplied to the coils by the expansion valve expands to a vapor as it absorbs heat from the air.
Air Conditioner Valve and Coils
Valve and coils are the next two air conditioner components that are used. The valve is where the hot liquid is sent to be turned into a cool vapor. This is the part that cools the heat down. Next the coils turns that vapor into cool liquid which in turn pushes the cool air into your home through the vents.
Air Conditioner Refrigerant
The most important part of the AC unit and the reason that it can cool at all is the refrigerant. This is a special liquid that can be used as a vapor or a liquid and is what is needed to allow the unit to take the warm air and cool it down. Most units have the refrigerant stored in copper pipes that distribute it into the unit to allow it to run and work consistently.
Air Conditioner Ductwork and Thermostat
The last thing is that the unit is duct work to funnel the air and a thermostat for ease in setting a temperature in your home.
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