The Innovative Complexity Of AC Units In South Florida
Posted on The Cooler Blog December 16, 2013 by Terry Jones
How an air conditioner is able to keep a house cool on even the hottest days of the year is a mystery to many people. It is fairly simple to understand how furnaces and heaters work, by heating air and blowing it throughout the house, but the process of creating cold, dehumidified air can be confusing.
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For people who don’t really understand how an air conditioner works, they might be surprised to discover that an AC doesn’t primarily blow cool air. In other words, its job is not really creating cold air. Rather, its job is removing hot air, which lowers the temperature.
How The Air Conditioner Works
Although there are many different types of air conditioners, from windows units to central AC units, they all use basically the same system. Here is how modern air conditioning works, in simplest terms:
A special refrigerant is used, and it serves as sort of the lifeblood of the whole system. That refrigerant starts out as a gas, but it is converted into a liquid under pressure. As that happens, it pulls heat out of the house, and a fan then blows that heat outside. The low boiling point of this refrigerant then allows it to change from a liquid back into a gas at low temperature.
A compressor pumps the refrigerant through the system and converts it from a low pressure vapor into a high pressure and hot vapor. The condenser takes this hot refrigerant and cools it by blowing it over condensing coils. This changes it back into a liquid.
Both of these parts are located outside the house in the big, noisy box. After the heat is removed from the liquid refrigerant and blown outside, it turns back into a cool, low-pressure gas. It then moves into the evaporator, where it runs through another set of coils.
Here, the hot air from the home is blown across the cold coils. There is a heat exchange that takes place. The refrigerant heats up, taking the heat from the air and evaporating into warm gas. From there, it moves back into the compressor, and the whole process continues.
This ingenious process is what makes cold air blow out of the vents, and it’s what allows us to control the temperature inside of buildings. It’s a rather innovative and remarkable process, but because of all the mechanical and electrical parts involved, problems can arise.