home air conditioner

How Does a Home Air Conditioner Work?

Understanding the parts and process of a home air conditioner

Are you a homeowner with a residential AC unit? If you have ever wondered how your air conditioner works, you are not alone. Knowing how your home air conditioner works is important to make the most of it. Did you know that over 87% of homes in the United States have air conditioning?

If you have wondered how your home air conditioner works, we have your answer. Read on and finally learn how your AC unit works.

Parts of  an Air Conditioner

Before knowing how your air conditioner works, you must first know what parts it has. After all, your air conditioner will not work if one part is missing or is malfunctioning. A typical air conditioner has four main components – here’s what they are and what they do:

1. Refrigerant

The refrigerant is also called the coolant and is the most important part of your AC unit. The main purpose of the refrigerant is to absorb environmental heat. After absorbing environmental heat, the refrigerant runs air through the compressor and evaporator.

The environmental heat becomes cooler at the desired temperature. This process is called the cooling cycle. Keeping your refrigerant in tip-top shape is vital to get your desired temperature.

You will know if your AC unit is low on refrigerant if it takes longer than average for your home or room to cool off. If your vents are blowing warm air, it is time to refill your refrigerant.

2. Evaporator Coils

This is the main part of the indoor unit, which serves as the absorber of environmental heat inside. You should always check if the coils are clean so that they work at high efficiency when you need them to. If you notice that the coils are becoming dirty, clean them and replace the air filters.

3. Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are the main part of the outdoor unit. This serves as the releaser of the environmental heat collected from the inside.

We recommend that you check and clean your condenser coils on a regular basis. Having clean condenser coils will help it release heat and increase efficiency. This helps your residential AC unit cool your home faster.

4. Compressor

You can compare the compressor to your heart. Like the heart, the compressor pumps all the collected air through the coils. The compressor helps your ac unit breathe in warm air and breathe out cold air.

Your Air Conditioner’s Standard Cooling Process

Now that you know the four vital parts of your air conditioner unit, it’s time to learn how they work.

Step 1: You Adjusting Your Thermostat

The air conditioner process starts once you adjust your thermostat. Every homeowner turns on their thermostat and puts it to their desired temperature. When you change your thermostat, it signals the need for your ac unit to cool the air.

Once you’ve adjusted your thermostat, it triggers the HVAC unit sensors. These sensors determine the starting temperature inside your home. If the desired temperature is lower than the room temperature, the cooling cycle will begin.

The compressor turns on to pump the warm air from inside your home and help the refrigerant. The compressor then helps the refrigerant send this warm air through the coils.

Step 2: Refrigerant Starts Working Its Magic

The Refrigerant works by absorbing hot indoor air and turning it into cooler air. The cold refrigerant stops when it meets the evaporator coils. As the air becomes cooler, the warmer the refrigerant becomes.

If there is too much water moisture in your air, the vapor becomes water due to condensation. This means that your air conditioner also doubles as a dehumidifier. This water falls into a tray inside your AC unit and drains outside.

Step 3: The Fans Start Blowing Cool Air to Your Home

After step 2, the fans inside your AC unit blow cooler air around the evaporator. This cooler air then returns to your home. If you own a centralized AC unit, this cooler air travels through ductwork to each room.

If you have a window or split-type air conditioner, the cold air will blow the cold air to the room it is in. This comes in handy as you can control temperatures in each room one AC unit is in and customize it. These indoor units are easier to switch off once the room is empty.

Step 4: The Heat From the Refrigerant Becomes Released Outside

Once the refrigerant reaches its heat limit, it releases the heat outdoors. This heat travels through the condenser coils located in the outdoor unit.

The refrigerant continues releasing heat until it becomes equal to the outdoor heat. The condenser releases this heat outdoors, cooling down the refrigerant.

Step 5: The Outdoor Fans Blow Hot Air Outside

As mentioned in step 4, blowing the heat is important in ensuring your air conditioner works. To do this, you need powerful fans to blow out air across the condenser coils. This powerful fan system helps the heat move outside faster.

You can check if your outdoor unit is working by going near it. An outdoor unit should be hot when the ac unit is on. This is because the heat collected from the inside becomes released using the fans.

Step 6: The Refrigerant Becomes Cold and Goes Back Into the Indoor Unit

Steps 4 and 5 will repeat until the temperature reaches equilibrium. That is when the temperature outside and in the refrigerant becomes equal. The compressor helps pump back this cooler air into the refrigerant so the cycle can repeat.

The thermostat sensors help determine if the desired indoor thermostat temperature is reached. This will trigger your AC unit to stop and rest until the temperature changes. When this happens, the air conditioner will start the cooling process again.

Get the Best Home Air Conditioner Today

Now that you know how your home air conditioner works, you are sure to know what to look out for when buying your next AC unit.

Tired of having to go room to room to switch your air conditioner on and off? Consider switching to a centralized HVAC air conditioner unit. Contact TMC today and get the best HVAC system for your home!