Learn How Your Air Conditioner Works

Learn How Your Air Conditioner Works!

This is a great video that shows you how your air conditioning system actually works.

Air Handler, Ductwork, Supply and Return Grills

So you can see that your air handler is in charge of circulating the air throughout your home. Your air handler has an indoor blower motor and wheel that circulates the air by sucking air in from your return air grill where your air filter is usually located and simultaneously blows air throughout the house (which is called the supply side) which you can feel blowing when you put your hand to one of your supply grills.

Outdoor Air Conditioner and Your Indoor A Coil

rheem-air-handlerNow, the next two pieces of equipment are the heart and soul of your air conditioning system. The first, is your outdoor air conditioning unit. The outdoor AC unit is made up of many components. There’s a condenser fan motor and fan blade that is mounted on the top of the unit. There is a copper and aluminum fin coil that surrounds the perimeter of the AC unit and on the inside of the unit are the electrical controls, a filter drier and most importantly the compressor. The second part of your air conditioning system is your indoor cooling coil which is also referred to as an A coil. The A coil usually sits on top of your air handler and is made out of copper tubing and aluminum fins which sort of looks like a radiator on a car. Your outdoor air conditioner and your indoor A coil are connected together by copper tubing called the refrigerant line.

How Your Air Conditioning System Works

As we mentioned, both your A coil and outdoor air conditioning unit are connect together by copper tubing which is filled or “charged” with freon. It is a sealed system and freon is not supposed to leak out. When freon does leak it’s usually because of a micron leak which can be tricky to find or from a loose or worn out schrader valve which is easy to find and relatively inexpensive to replace. As you can see in the above video when you turn on your air conditioning at the thermostat the first thing that happens is your air handler’s blower motor turns on and starts circulating the air. After about 25 seconds your outdoor AC unit and compressor starts up.

Thermodynamics, Refrigeration and Residential Air Conditioning

outdoor air conditionerThe compressor pumps freon and also sucks freon which is similar to how your indoor fan sucks air and blows air. The compressor sends liquid refrigerant (freon) through the copper tubing (liquid line) to your indoor A coil. Right before the freon enters the A coil there is a “piston” which sprays the liquid refrigerant into the coil. As your air handler blows warm air through the A coil the liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air and turns the freon back to a gas. This gas is then sucked back to the compressor. The compressor then compresses the freon gas to a semi gaseous liquid sate and is then circulated through the outdoor condenser coil. While this semi gaseous liquid travels through all the loops in the condenser coil the fan that sits on top of the air conditioner is pulling outdoor air through the fins of the coil removing the heat from the semi gaseous freon and ejecting it out of the top of the unit. That’s why when you put your hand over the top of a running air conditioner the air blowing feels warm. So as the last of the heat is removed from the semi gaseous freon it cools back to a liquid to be sent back to the A coil to remove more heat from the inside of your home.

So essentially, freon absorbs the heat from inside your home and discharges it outside via your condenser fan (the one where you hold your hand over the top and the air blowing feels warm).

Removing Humidity From Your Home

remove-humidityOne last important point. A byproduct of air conditioning is humidity removal. Think of a cold glass of ice water on a hot summer day and how it sweats water. What’s actually happening is that the humidity in the air comes into contact with your ice cold glass and condenses the humidity vapor into water droplets. Simple enough concept. The same thing happens with your A coil. When freon in your A coil absorbs the heat from the air circulating past it one of the byproducts of thermodynamics and heat absorption is that the surface turns ice cold. When warm, humid air comes into contact with your ice cold A coil the humidity in the air condenses into water droplets. These droplets collect in a pan and eventually run down your condensate drain line and down the drain, thus removing humidity from the air as well.

I hope you enjoyed this post and please leave a comment or a question, we’d love to hear from you. If you’re air conditioner is not working and you need Bonita Springs air conditioning repair service we hope you will give us a call. We usually respond within 2 hours and can fix your AC unit the very same day!