Your air conditioner is not a complex or mysterious device that magically makes things cooler. In the world of “The Flintstones,” an air conditioner probably would’ve been a mammoth sucking on ice cubes, blowing cool air out its trunk and into a house window. That’s not too far off. Central air conditioning is actually a simple, motor-driven heat exchange with few parts. Knowing what those parts are and how your A/C operates will help keep it working for many long Yuma area summers.
Two units make up the common central split-system A/C, one inside and the other outside, and each of these interacts with refrigerant to produce cool air. By following the path the refrigerant takes, you’ll see how each component interacts with it and how your house gets cool.
- Refrigerant enters the outdoor unit into the compressor as a low-pressure gas.
- The compressor packs refrigerant molecules tight, increasing their energy and temperature.
- When the refrigerant leaves the compressor, it’s now a hot, high-pressure gas, which then travels to the condenser.
- Condenser fans cool the refrigerant, lowering its temperature and converting it to a liquid. During this process, heat energy that had been transferred from inside the home is released into the air.
- The liquid refrigerant is then pushed through a tiny hole into the evaporator where the pressure drops, causing the liquid to evaporate.
- Meanwhile, warm air is pulled from the house through vents, usually close to the ceiling where heat accumulates.
- Warm house air is pushed over the evaporator and gaseous refrigerant absorbs the air’s energy/heat.
- Cooled house air is then pumped back into the house through floor-level vents, and the warm refrigerant moves back to the compressor for the whole process to start again.
Maybe a little more complex than cooling your house with mammoths and ice cubes, but certainly less messy. When your central air conditioning stops working, or performs less than optimal, it’s usually because one of the components above isn’t functioning as it should. Checking vents, fans and tubes are easy troubleshooting steps you can perform.
For more serious issues, please contact us at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. With decades of experience repairing and installing A/C units in Southwest Arizona, we have the knowledge you require.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about central air conditioning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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