How Exactly Do Air Conditioners Work?
For many homeowners, when the temperature gets too warm inside, they simply adjust the thermostat and wait for the cool, comfortable air to come pouring through the vents and registers. Not many people think too much about how the cool air gets into their home—they’re just thankful it’s there! We think it’s important for homeowners to understand the basics of how air conditioners work so that they’ll feel comfortable speaking with a cooling technician during service or maintenance calls.
Evaporation is the Key Component of Air Conditioners
Evaporation and compression are the “secret” to how air conditioners work:
- When a liquid is heated, it evaporates and turns into a gas—absorbing heat.
- When a gas is compressed, it reverts to a liquid—releasing heat.
The evaporation process takes place inside your home, resulting in a cool, comfortable environment; while the compression process occurs outside, ensuring hot air is expelled away from your home.
There are two main components needed to make air conditioners work:
Evaporator (Indoor Unit)
The part of the cooling system found inside your home is called (fittingly) the evaporator. In traditional central air conditioning units, it’s usually found in the basement with the furnace. The evaporator coils are filled with a refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air, leaving cool and conditioned air to be distributed throughout your home. As the heat is absorbed, the cooling liquid changes to a gas.
Compressor (Outdoor Unit)
The gas refrigerant then travels outside to compressor and condenser, where a fan quickly cools the coils, returning the refrigerant back to a liquid. As the cooling chemical is compressed to a liquid, the heat is released and exhausted. The process begins again when the refrigerant travels back inside to the evaporator.
Knowing the basic process driving air conditioners can give homeowners a leg up in monitoring their cooling system and feeling comfortable speaking with their cooling technician.
Contact us today with any of your heating or cooling needs—we’re always happy to help!
HAMCO Heating & Cooling Ltd. has been serving Hamilton and the surrounding area for over 70 years! We’re fully committed to providing the best quality service for all our customers on every service call.