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Sure, Your Air Conditioner Does The Job -- But Do You Know How It Works?

Last updated 4 years ago

Invented by Willis Carrier in 1902, the basic theory of air conditioning has remained unchanged. An air conditioner functions as a mechanical heat mover. Cold is the absence of heat. So, your A/C simply transfers heat energy out of your living spaces and what’s left behind is cool air.

The major components of a modern A/C unit are the compressor, the condenser and the evaporator. In a central air conditioner, the compressor and condenser are located in a cabinet outside. The evaporator is indoors, inside the air handler unit that connects to the ductwork.  

Here’s how the components work together to cool your home:

  • Compressor stage -- A piston in the compressor pressurizes cool refrigerant, a variant of Freon, converting it to very hot, high-pressure gas. The refrigerant absorbs heat, and evaporates and condenses readily.
  • Condenser stage -- Hot refrigerant is conveyed from the compressor to the condenser coil, consisting of a grid of tubing fitted with aluminum fits to disperse heat. As a fan in the condenser cabinet circulates air though the coil, the refrigerant gas temperature drops, causing it to condense into a liquid. As it condenses, it rapidly sheds heat, which is then dispersed into the air by the cooling fins.
  • Evaporator stage -- The high-pressure liquid refrigerant is piped through an expansion valve, which instantly depressurizes it, converting the refrigerant to an extremely cold gas. In this state, the refrigerant has efficient heat absorption properties. As the gas fills the evaporator coil in the air handler, the blower draws warm air from the living spaces through the cold evaporator coil, which extracts heat from the air. Cold air flows from the opposite side of the evaporator and enters the ductwork for distribution through the house. The refrigerant carrying the absorbed heat passes to the compressor where it is pressurized, then to the condenser coil where the absorbed heat is transferred to the outside air.

When you're ready to put theory into action with a new high-efficiency air conditioner, Pacific Aire Inc. is ready with an experienced and highly trained sales and service team. Let us show you how we've built our reputation in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as well as the surrounding Santa Clarita and San Fernando area.


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