The Nuts and Bolts of Air Conditioning: How it Cools Your Home posted by Liz in Articles

In Arizona, we can’t imagine our lives today without our home air conditioning systems. But before 1902, when an electrical engineer named Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first air conditioner, people would hang damp mats and place pots filled with water in areas with warm, dry breezes.

We are all thankful for Carrier’s invention, but do we know how it really works?

Air conditioners use refrigeration to chill indoor air. In “phase conversion,” which is when a liquid converts to a gas, heat is absorbed. Through this process, air conditioners force special chemical compounds called refrigerant to evaporate and condense over and over again in a system of coils.

At the same time, fans in the air conditioner move warm interior air over the cold, refrigerant-filled coils. When hot air flows over the cold coils, the refrigerant inside absorbs the heat from the air as it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state, i.e. phase conversion. Then, the air conditioner converts the refrigerant gas back to a liquid again. This is how the system continues to cool efficiently. The air conditioning system’s compressor puts the gas under high pressure, thereby creating heat. That heat is then evacuated to the outdoors by condenser coils and a fan. The gas changes back to a liquid as it cools. This process occurs over and over again to cool your home.

In addition to the important job of cooling the air, air conditioners also regulate your home’s temperature, remove potentially unhealthy airborne particulates from the indoor air, and keep your home from getting too moist.

Common Air Conditioning Terms

If you have ever had your air conditioner serviced, you may have heard the technician use some unfamiliar terms. Be prepared the next time by reviewing these critical components to your system.

  • Evaporator: The fan blows air past the evaporator, which then cools the air.
  • Condenser: The condenser is the main component of central air conditioning system and is the box you see outside your home.
  • Expansion valve: This part removes pressure from the liquid refrigerant to allow it to change from a liquid to a vapor.
  • Compressor: A pump that circulates the refrigerant through the air conditioning system.

Chas Roberts Air Conditioning & Plumbing are the experts when it comes to air conditioning. If your system isn’t working properly, contact Chas Roberts today! To schedule a maintenance, repair or replacement appointment visit our website or call (602) 943-3426 in Phoenix, (520) 618-1884 in Tucson or (505) 264-7257 in New Mexico.