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How Does an AC Cool the Air?

air-conditioner-outdoor-unitLook, we don’t expect every homeowner to understand precisely how it is that their air conditioning systems work. The reason for this is quite simple—we’d have to find another industry in which to make our living, and you can’t teach some old dogs new tricks! All joking aside, though, we do believe that it is in the best interest of homeowners everywhere to have a basic understanding of the way in which their air conditioning systems work.

That is why we’re using today’s post to explore this very topic. So read on, take note of the mechanics behind the cooling cycle, and remember one fact above all others—a basic understanding of how your AC works does not qualify you for handling your own air conditioning services! When you need any services related to air conditioning in Fountain, CO, you need to call in trained professionals. The good news is that you’re reading this right now, which means you’ve already found them.

Moving Heat (Not Generating “Coolness”)

You’ve probably heard it said that blackness is not actually a color, but rather the absence of color. We’re not art critics, and we cannot really attest to the validity of this argument, but it makes sense, right? Especially when you apply that sort of thinking to your air conditioning system (okay, that may be a bit of a stretch).

What do we mean by that? Well, a furnace or a boiler generate new heat by burning a fuel or by using electric resistance, right? An air conditioner, though, does not somehow generate new “coolness”. Instead, that coolness that you feel is really more accurately described as the “absence of heat”. Make sense?

Not Really, But Let’s Keep Going!

Okay then!

In order to remove heat from the air in your home, thus allowing you to feel the coolness that you’re after when you run your AC, the air conditioner needs to remove heat from the air in your home. It does this via the refrigerant cycle.

Refrigerant is a heat transfer fluid, and it is able to change its physical states from gas to liquid and back again relatively easily. This is very handy in terms of heat transfer.

The refrigerant is evaporated in the air conditioner’s “evaporator coil,” which,  admittedly, is not the most creative name. That evaporation allows the refrigerant to draw heat out of the air passing through the coil, and this cooled air is then redistributed throughout the house. The heat absorbed by the refrigerant has to go somewhere, though, so the refrigerant next travels out to the condenser coil.

This is in the outdoor unit, and is where the refrigerant—you guessed it—is condensed. As the refrigerant condenses, it releases its heat into the air outside. If you are low on refrigerant, if the evaporator or condenser coils are dirty, or if the fins on the condenser unit are all bent out of shape, this heat transfer process is seriously impeded. Routine maintenance and prompt repairs help to protect your system and allow it to its job successfully!

Schedule your AC services with Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning.


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