Have you ever wondered how air conditioning works? How does it keep your home or business so cool in the summer heat? Many people mistakenly think that their air conditioner works by “creating” cold air, but that’s not the case. Air conditioning works instead by removing unwanted heat inside your home and transferring it outside. It then replaces the air inside your home with cooler air. This is very similar to how your refrigerator works. The only difference is your refrigerator is a much smaller space to keep cool.
Here is a visual look at how an air conditioner works:
IMAGE SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Saver 101 Infographic
The 7 Phases of how an air conditioner works:
- The evaporator (A) contains cooling coils that use refrigerant to remove unwanted heat and humidity from the air.
- The blower (B) then circulates air over the evaporator, dispersing the chilled air.
- The condenser (C) contains hot coils that then release the collected unwanted heat into the outdoors.
- The compressor (D) then begins to move the refrigerant between the evaporator (A) and the condenser (C).
- The fan (E) then blows the air over the condenser to disperse the heat outside.
- The air conditioners filter (F) removes particles from the air.
- The air conditioner’s thermostat (G) controls the amount of cool air that is spread throughout the room(s).
In short, air conditioning works by two actions that occur simultaneously. One happens inside the home and the other happens outside of your home. These things work together to keep your home nice and cool!
If you’re wondering how air conditioning works, you should also know how the different types of systems work. The type of system that will work best for you depends on your geographical location, the size and physical characteristics of your home, and the way you use your system.
The most common type of HVAC system is a split system. The indoor unit is the heat source while the air conditioning unit resides outside and keeps up the cooling needs for the home. This type of system consistently and reliably cools and heats the entire home as well as maintains indoor air quality through the use of filters inside the furnace.
A hybrid system that consists of a heat pump provides both heating and cooling but with greater efficiency. It’s typically paired with either a gas furnace or an electric air handler. When it’s cooling, a heat pump works just like an air conditioner. However, a heat pump has a reversing valve that allows it to absorb heat from outside, even when it’s cold outside. It then sends it indoors while supporting the heating effort for your home. When it’s really cold, the gas furnace becomes the primary heat source to ensure the entire house is comfortable. Hybrid systems are an energy and fuel saving solution that are ideal for any size of home.
Ductless systems heat or cool specific areas of your home. Since these systems don’t rely on ductwork to distribute air, installation is less invasive and often less expensive. Ductless systems have an outdoor unit connected to a compact wall-mounted unit indoors through a small hole. Each indoor unit is designed to provide warm or cool air solely for the room in which it’s installed. The indoor unit can be installed on a wall, in the ceiling, or on the floor.
The best way to determine the best comfort system for your home’s heating and cooling needs is to have a trained HVAC professional perform an evaluation. Your Home Comfort Alliance consultant will evaluate your home to determine which type of system is right for you. We are the heating & air conditioning experts for Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Redmond, and greater Puget Sound area! We are here to provide our customers with the best service, quality repairs, and professional installations. Click here to contact us or call (425) 645-0404 to speak with one of our HVAC representatives right away! #InstallitRight #FixItFast