Your air conditioner works similarly to a refrigerator, but it cools a space much larger than the insulated box in your kitchen. To better understand the repairs that your A/C may need, you need to first understand how the system works.
- The chemical process: An A/C uses refrigerant chemicals that are converted back and forth between a liquid and a gas. As the conversion process takes place, it transfers the heat from the inside of a building to the air outside and helps cool the warm outside air. Today’s energy-efficient A/C units use a refrigerant that is more Earth-friendly.
- Parts of an A/C: Air conditioners have three main components: the condenser, compressor and evaporator. The condenser and compressor are located in a unit on the outside of the house. In split-system air conditioners, the evaporator is inside. In a single system unit, the evaporator is in the same unit as the other two components.
- The compressor: The compressor is like the heart of an air conditioner because it circulates the refrigerant between the condenser and evaporator. This part of the A/C compresses the refrigerant so the molecules within it increase in temperature and energy.
- The condenser: When the hot refrigerant leaves the compressor, it enters into the condenser and is cooled. The chemicals change from a gas into a liquid.
- The evaporator: The cooled liquid moves from the condenser into the evaporator, which absorbs the refrigerant’s remaining heat. As the refrigerant’s pressure drops, the evaporator’s coils absorb and remove the heat and moisture from the air inside in a thermal energy process. During this process, a vent also draws warm air from the outside, the evaporator cools the air and a fan blows the cooled air into the home through a series of ducts as the refrigerant evaporates back into a gas. Then, the air conditioning cycle repeats.
For more expert advice about your air conditioner and other issues related to home comfort, please feel free to contact the Rite Way Ventilation Co. We’ve been serving the Tucson area since 1959 and can answer any HVAC-related questions you may have about your home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.