How your home's air conditioning system works - the basics
So how does your AC system actually work? The path of heat always travels from hot to cold. Essentially, you homes AC system removes heat from the inside of the house and dumps it outside. Keep that small piece of information in mind as you continue reading below.
A home cooling system typically operates by using a refrigerant cycle to remove heat from inside the house and transfer it outside. The refrigerant, which is a substance that easily changes from a liquid to a gas, is cooled in an evaporator coil inside the home. As the refrigerant evaporates, it removes heat from the air in the home, which is then circulated by a fan.
The refrigerant is then compressed, increasing its temperature, and sent outside to the condenser coil. In the condenser coil, the refrigerant releases the heat it absorbed in the evaporator coil, and is cooled back down into a liquid form, ready to start the cycle again. This process continues until the desired temperature is reached, at which point the system turns off until more cooling is needed.
A home cooling system consists of several components that work together to regulate the temperature inside the house. Here is a more detailed explanation of how it works:
Evaporator coil: Located inside the home, the evaporator coil contains refrigerant in a liquid form. A fan blows air over the coil, causing the refrigerant to evaporate and absorb heat from the air. This cooled air is then circulated throughout the house by the fan.
Compressor: The compressor is responsible for compressing the refrigerant from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure gas. This raises the temperature of the refrigerant, and prepares it for the next stage of the cooling process.
Condenser coil: The condenser coil is located outside the home, and its purpose is to release the heat absorbed by the refrigerant. A fan blows air over the coil, allowing the refrigerant to cool back down into a liquid form.
Expansion valve: The expansion valve regulates the flow of refrigerant from the high-pressure side of the system to the low-pressure side. This helps to control the temperature of the refrigerant and ensures it remains in a liquid form as it enters the evaporator coil.
Refrigerant: The refrigerant is the substance that is used to transfer heat from inside the home to outside. It changes from a liquid to a gas and back again in a continuous cycle, absorbing and releasing heat as it goes.
Thermostat: The thermostat is the control center for the cooling system. It senses the temperature inside the home and turns the system on or off as needed to maintain the desired temperature.
The cooling system operates by repeating this cycle of removing heat from the air in the home, transferring it outside, and then returning the refrigerant back to the evaporator coil to start the process again. This allows for continuous cooling until the desired temperature is reached and maintained.