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How Does Air Conditioning Work? - Basics of Air Conditioning »
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How Does Air Conditioning Work

Air conditioners take heat from inside your home or business and sends it outside through an interrelated system of five parts:

  • The Refrigerant: The refrigerant is usually R-22 Freon and R-410A Puron. Think of it like a car cooling system. Running through your air conditioner unit you have refrigerant. It changes from a gas vapor to a liquid as it collects the heat from inside your home and sends that heat outside.
  • The Compressor: The compressor is like the heart of your air conditioner.  It pumps the refrigerant in and out of the refrigeration components in a loop. Refrigerant enters the compressor as a low pressure warm vapor and is compressed into a high pressure hot vapor.
  • Condenser: When the hot refrigerant vapor moves from the compressor to the condenser, the vapor is cooled by pushing it through air cooled condenser coils. This changes the refrigerant from a hot vapor to a hot liquid and it is pumped into the expansion valve.
  • Expansion Valve: The hot liquid refrigerant is pushed through a small opening at high pressure which turns it into a mist. As the liquid refrigerant expands it cools rapidly. The cold liquid mist moves from the expansion valve into the evaporator coil.
  • Evaporator Coil: The cold refrigerant runs through the evaporator coils in the plenum of your HVAC system. The hot air inside of your home is blown across the cold evaporator coil to cool it down before it is blown back inside of your home.  As the hot air passes over the evaporator coil it transfers the heat back into the refrigerant. As the refrigerant heats up, it turns back into a warm vapor and is pushed back into the compressor where the process starts over again.