There’s nothing quite like stepping into an air-conditioned space after spending the day outside in nearly 100-degree weather. At that moment, you become grateful for the magic of air conditioning. But is it really magic? Does an air conditioner just push cold air into your room? Not quite.
Believe it or not, central air conditioning systems do far more than cool your home during warm weather. They also reduce humidity and help filter air by pulling allergens and pollutants through air ducts, as well as to the outside. Air Conditioners are dynamic appliances with various moving parts that push air indoors and out.
An air conditioning unit has both a colder and hotter side. Inside, the air conditioning unit consists of an evaporator coil, usually installed on top of the gas furnace inside the home. It also utilizes a thermostat and a fan, which blows gas over chilled coils and into the room (as cold air). The outside unit contains the compressor, condenser, several electrical components, and another fan. This second fan is tasked with blowing hot air outside. The expansion valve, located between the two coils, controls the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator.
In this post, we’ll break down the different components of an air-conditioner:
Most of you are probably familiar with the thermostat. A thermostat is a device or control system commonly used to regulate air to your desired temperature.
Air ducts are placed strategically throughout buildings to serve as tunnels and provide maximum circulation. Warm air from inside your home is pushed into air ducts by a motorized fan.
An evaporator is a coil responsible for collecting and processing heat. Within the evaporator is a liquid refrigerant that absorbs warm air. This refrigerant, powered by electricity, experiences a pressure drop, causing the liquid to spread out and convert back to a gas. Then, a fan blows cool air over the colder coils and into the room.
A refrigerant is a substance that flows within refrigeration lines throughout both an indoor and outdoor unit. Liquid refrigerants often include hydrofluorocarbons (or HFCs), and hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are responsible for absorbing heat, then transporting it to the compressor.
A compressor is a large electric pump responsible for heat transfer. Its housed within the part of an air conditioning unit accessible from outside the home. It pressurizes refrigerant gas so it can be transported to the condenser.
A condenser is located within an outside unit. As its name suggests, condensers condense and convert refrigerant gas back into a liquid. It then proceeds to dispel warm air outside.
Located between the chilled coils of the evaporator and the searing coils of the condenser, an expansion valve controls the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator.
Interested in learning more about how air-conditioning works? Our AC Repair & Service page has more detail about how the components work together as well as information on maintenance and service. For additional questions or to request a quote, call us at (402) 731-2727. We’re happy to help!