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How a Central Air Conditioner Works (What You Need-To-Know!)

Posted by William Sherk
William Sherk

central-air-conditioning-repair-installation-technicians.jpgDid you ever wonder how Central Air Conditioning cools your home? What components are involved? What does the air flow route look like? Discover and learn.

The Basics

When looking at a Central Air Conditioning System, you will notice 4 key components. Those components are the Condensing unit, Evaporator Coil, Circulation Blower Fan and Thermostat. But what do those components do? How do they play a part in cooling a home? Let’s take a look at the Key Components of a Central Air Conditioning System and discover how they work.

Key Component 1: The Condensing Unit

Lennox-AC-Condenser-Installed.jpgLocated outside of the home, the Condensing Unit is that large, metal box sitting near your home. If you could cut the Condensing Unit in half, inside you would find the condenser coils, the compressor, and the condenser fan motor. The compressor is like a pump, compressing refrigerant in the form of gas into the condenser coils. Inside the condenser coils, the gas in condensed into a hot liquid. The condenser coils dissipate the heat as the liquid travels through them. The condenser fan is used to assist the coils in this process. Once the refrigerant has passed through the condenser coils, it travels to the Evaporator Coils.

Key Component 2: The Evaporator Coils

Goodman-AC-Installed.jpgLocated inside of the home, the Evaporator Coils are typically found mounted on top of the furnace. They use the furnace’s central air ducts. Remember, the refrigerant from the Condensing Unit is now a cooled-off liquid and it has approached the Evaporator Coils. Once the liquid enters the Evaporator Coils, it expands into the form of a gas. The refrigerant gas makes the Evaporator Coils cold. Then, the refrigerant gas flows into a suction line attached to the compressor which is back in the Condensing Unit where it will repeat the process. Now that the Evaporator Coils are cold, it ready to cool the air blown past it by the Circulation Blower Fan.

Key Component 3: The Blower Motor (Fan)

AC-Heater-Blower-Motor-Installed.jpgLocated inside of the furnace, the Circulation Blower Fan is simply a fan that blows air. First, the Circulation Blower Fan draws air in through the return vent. Second, it blows air past the cold Evaporator Coils. Third, it continues blowing the now cooled air through the home’s venting ducts. Finally, the air circulates in the room and is drawn back through the return vent. This process continues until the room temperature matches the temperature set on the Thermostat.

Key Component 4: The Thermostat

Honeywell-WiFi-Smart-Thermostat-Touchscreen-Display-New-Installed.jpgLocated in a central location in the home and at eye level, the Thermostat controls the temperature. It has a sensor that measure the temperature of the home. The home owner sets the preferred room temperature on the Thermostat. The sensor in the Thermostat determines if the current room temperature is above or below the home owner’s set temperature. When the room is warmer than the set temperature, the Thermostat sends a signal to the Condensing Unit to begin cooling the air. Once the cool air drops the room temperature to the set temperature, then the Thermostat sends another signal to the Condensing Unit to power off and stop cooling the air. The Thermostat continues to sense the air temperature, turning the Condensing Unit on and off as often as needed to maintain the set temperature.

Knowledge is Power

So, now you know how a central air conditioning works. Feel free to share your new information with your friends and neighbors at barbecues, at the lake, at a sporting game, or wherever this summer takes you. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about How a Central Air Conditioning System Works, feel free to contact us. We would love to help familiarize you or your friends with central air conditioning systems and how they might improve your home. If your air conditioner is not working properly, please see Maintenance & Repair Tips To Keep Your Central Air Conditioner Cooling.

Or, you can call our qualified and Local AC Service Professionals.

Topics: Air Conditioning

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