Air Conditioning – How Does it Work?

While almost everyone has an air conditioning system either at home or at work, many of those same people have little to no idea how said air conditioning system works. Well, let’s fix that!

Knowing how your air conditioning system works is important because that knowledge will help you determine when to call in the Pann Home Services and Remodeling HVAC professionals for repair, replacement, and maintenance work.

The Air Conditioning Process

Air conditioning systems work almost identically to refrigerators. Like refrigerators, the air conditioning process can be broken down into two main cycles of operation. These two main cycles are:

  • Evaporation, and
  • Compression

Each cycle is vital to the air conditioning process, so let’s break down these two cycles in a little bit more detail.

The Evaporation Cycle

The evaporation cycle is the cycle in air conditioning in which the actual cooling takes place. To do this, your air conditioner will take air from inside the space to be cooled and pass it through what is called an evaporator coil that is filled with supercooled liquid refrigerant. When the air passes through the coil, the heat from the air is transferred to the refrigerant, cooling the air in the process. Then thee cooled air is distributed back into the space to be cooled through ductwork (or simply straight out into the space if you happen to have a ductless split system). After the evaporation cycle is complete, the now-gaseous refrigerant is transferred to the compression section of the system.

The Compression Cycle

The condensation cycle in air conditioners is the step in the process in which the gaseous refrigerant from the evaporation cycle is condensed back into a liquid form. This is accomplished through the use of a compressor (a machine that uses pressure to help convert the gaseous refrigerant to a liquid) and a condensing coil.

The condensing coil helps the compressor transform the gaseous refrigerant into a liquid by running the gaseous refrigerant through itself while passing outside air over it. The outside air helps cool the refrigerant before it hits the compressor which finishes the transformation of the refrigerant back into a liquid form. Then the liquid refrigerant is pumped back to the evaporation side of the system and the process starts all over again.