Exploring The Science Behind Air Conditioning
The air conditioner in your Orlando-area home works hard to keep your family cool and comfortable as the temperature climbs outside. It’s easy to take your cooling system for granted, but understanding the science behind it can help you operate and maintain it properly. You may even reduce the need for air conditioning repair simply by knowing how an AC unit works.
The Cooling Power of Refrigerant
Refrigerant is the key to air conditioning and refrigeration. You may think refrigerant produces cold air, but it actually extracts heat from indoor air and sends it outside. This process works because of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat naturally flows toward cold.
Another common misconception is that air conditioners consume refrigerant. However, the chemical flows in a closed system, so it should never deplete. If you suspect low refrigerant levels, you need an HVAC professional to fix the leak and recharge the system.
Key Air Conditioning Components
Consider the parts that work together to make air conditioning possible:
- Blower and ductwork: The blower circulates cooled air through the ductwork and into your home via supply registers. It also pulls in room-temperature air for re-cooling through the return registers.
- Air filter: This indoor component collects airborne dust and debris to protect delicate air conditioning components. Install an efficient enough filter, and you can even improve indoor air quality by trapping minuscule allergens flowing through the ductwork.
- Thermostat: The thermostat is the control center of the entire air conditioning process. It reads the indoor temperature and tells the AC unit when to cycle on and off. You can change temperature settings based on your comfort needs, but the lower you set the thermostat, the higher your cooling bills will be.
- Evaporator coil: The refrigerant cycle begins when cold, liquid refrigerant enters the indoor evaporator coil. As it extracts heat and removes humidity from the air, the refrigerant evaporates into a heated, gaseous state.
- Compressor: Once it has absorbed heat, the refrigerant passes through the compressor, where the gas is pressurized and heated even more. This important step prepares the refrigerant to give up its heat.
- Condensing coil: Very hot refrigerant flows into the outdoor condensing coil, expelling the heat it collected from inside with the help of a large fan and metal fins that act as heat sinks. The refrigerant loses thermal energy to the outdoor air and condenses back into a liquid.
- Expansion valve: On its way back inside, the refrigerant passes through an expansion valve, which depressurizes the liquid refrigerant and causes it to fall well below room temperature. This is essential for the refrigerant to begin the cycle all over again.
If you experience problems with your AC not cooling your home, any of the above components could be acting up. Certified Climate Control can diagnose and repair the issue correctly. And if it turns out you need a new air conditioner, we can install your new cooling system quickly and cost-effectively. For more information or to schedule services in Orlando, Seminole, Orange, or Volusia County, FL, please contact us today.