Air Conditioning Systems Move Heat: A Quick FYI about AC

Air Conditioning Systems Move Heat: A Quick FYI about AC

Those of us with central air conditioners often cannot imagine life without them. And yet, many of us know little about how these systems actually work. Heating systems generate or produce heat via fuel combustion or electric resistance. But since “cool” is not an energy, it is not something that can be generated.

Air conditioners do not simply produce cool air, as you may think. In order to cool the air, your air conditioner must first remove heat.

Refrigerant and Heat Exchange

Refrigerant is the chemical blend that moves throughout your system, from the indoor unit to the outside over and over again. (You may know it as Freon.) Under the right temperature and pressure, refrigerant can absorb heat and release heat (without dissipating or ever evacuating from the AC system).

Here’s an overview of how this works:

  • The blower fan sucks in warm air from around the home, which blows over the evaporator coil.
  • Inside the evaporator coil, liquid refrigerant evaporates (turns to a low-pressure gas) and absorbs heat from the air around the coil. The coil cools down.
  • Refrigerant moves outdoors to the compressor, which adds pressure and heat to the refrigerant.
  • All of that heat is released at the condenser, as refrigerant changes back into a high-pressure liquid. Remember, refrigerant itself does not dissipate, only losing heat to the air around the outside unit, assisted by a large outdoor fan.
  • Refrigerant passes through the expansion valve to lose some pressure before moving onto the evaporator again.
  • This process repeats until the thermostat calls for no more AC.

In other words, warm air blowing over the cooling evaporator coil becomes cool before it moves into your home, but only after the AC system removes heat. It’s a somewhat complex process, which is why you should only call in professional air conditioning technicians when your whole-house air conditioner needs service.

Schedule your next AC service in Fontana, CA, with an HVAC expert at Allstar Home Services.


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