How Air Conditioning Works

Air conditioning is a fascinating concept that people of earlier times would be astounded with. Imagine being able to produce cold air in the heat of the summer, from a box. Many people wonder how this works.

First, the AC is connected to the thermostat which monitors the household temperature. When the temperature begins to get too hot for the setting, the thermostat signals the air conditioner to begin cooling the air. This starts with the air-handling unit drawing air in from the house.

Thankfully, the air is pulled through a filter, preventing dust, pollen, and lint from being swirled through the air with the cooling. Some filters also remove viruses and bacteria with microfiltration. Next the air is chilled through a process of refrigeration.

The standard split system involves a condenser and compressor combined in an outdoor unit. These are the typical window or roof units. A refrigerant such as Freon is used to run through the copper tubing of the evaporator coil, to chill the passing air. The coolant takes in heat and puts out heat, as it transfers from liquid to gas and vice versa.

When warm air passes around the coil, the coolant rapidly sucks up the heat, changing from a liquid into a vapor. The vapor then moves to the compressor that pressurizes the vapor and pushes it through the outdoor coil. This causes the heat to release. A fan further helps the process by circulating the hot air out away from the house.

Then, the coolant goes through an expansion device which changes it back to a low-pressure cold liquid. Thus it flows back to the indoor coil. This process is a continuous cycle as long as the unit is on and working properly.

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