How Does An Air Conditioner Work?

air conditioner

Let’s try and answer that question without making your eyes glaze over by talking about physics and thermodynamics. One of the first things you need to know is that an air conditioner does not cool the air in the house. Instead, it removes heat and transfers it outside leaving behind the cooler air. Some of you may be saying that’s a distinction without a difference, but it does help us understand how HVAC systems work to keep your Lubbock, TX home comfortable.

Refrigerant Travels In Closed Loop

Every air conditioner uses refrigerant to make the heat transfer happen. It travels in a closed loop from the outside compressor to the indoor evaporator coil. Because it’s a sealed system any loss of refrigerant indicates a leak which needs to be repaired. The only exception would be a loss of refrigerant over a long period of time (years). This would indicate the leak is so tiny it may not be repairable.

What the Refrigerant Does

The air conditioner compressor condenses the refrigerant, changing it from a gas to a liquid and making it cold. The refrigerant circulates through the indoor evaporator coil (sometimes called the A-Coil because of its shape). A fan blows warm air from inside the house across the cold coil. The basic law of thermodynamics is that heat always seeks out cool. In this case the heat from the air in the house is transferred to the refrigerant in the coil, turning it back to a gas which is then transported back to the outdoor compressor. As the refrigerant is compressed the heat captured inside the home is transferred to the outside air. This process continues over and over until the air conditioning system has removed enough heat from the house to lower the temperature to whatever the thermostat setting is.

Simple But Complicated

While the process sounds and is scientifically simple, air conditioning requires many complicated components working together to function properly. Without routine maintenance, the air conditioner will lose efficiency leading to higher electric bills. Continued neglect can result in breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Schedule Your Maintenance Visit

Another long, hot Lubbock, TX summer is upon us. If you haven’t had your annual air conditioner tune-up, now is the time to call Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric. One of our HVAC technicians will use his or her training to diagnose any existing problems with your air conditioning system and identify potential problems before they cause a breakdown. For more great HVAC information be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.