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How a Central Air Conditioner Works

by Don Vandervort, © HomeTips

In a typical air conditioning system, a refrigerant circulates through a loop of copper tubing that runs between an outdoor coil, the condenser, and an indoor coil, or evaporator.

hoiw a central air conditioner worksRefrigerant travels between the two coils, absorbing heat from the room and releasing it outside. In the process, the refrigerant cools the evaporator coils.

A blower sends the chilled and dehumidified air into the room. The cooling effect causes the warm air to release its moisture, which drops into a drain pan and is carried away.

A heat pump works just like an air conditioner but has a valve that can be reversed to deliver heat instead of cooled air.

Central air conditioning is often combined with a forced-air furnace; both share the same blower and ductwork. The furnace’s air filter removes dust, hair, and lint and should be checked every month when air conditioning or heating are in use to be sure it is clean.

Air conditioners are powered by electricity—and they can use a lot of it, depending on the size of the house and it’s general weathertightness. Proper maintenance can help reduce the high cost of keeping your house cool.

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