There’s plenty of benefits to having a central AC system in your home, but the most important one is keeping your home nice and cool and rid of excessive humidity. Not only does your system keep your home comfortable, but it also cleans the indoor air you breathe. When the air passes through the filter, airborne particles such as dust, bacteria, and allergens are removed.
Plus, a central AC system is far quieter than a free-standing or window-mounted air conditioner, as the compressor unit is located outside your home, which keeps noise levels down inside it. But, how does your central air conditioning system actually work?
The AC pros at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling are here to help you understand it.
An AC system’s parts
A typical central AC is made up of two main components, also called a split system. This type of system includes:
An outdoor unit. The equipment outside contains the compressor, condenser coil, electrical components, and a fan.
An evaporator coil. The coil is generally installed above the furnace inside your home.
Refrigeration lines. These lines connect the inside equipment to the condenser unit outside.
Refrigerant. This liquid/gas cools your house and is circulated through the refrigeration lines from inside to outside and back.
Ducts. These airflow conduits serve to supply the various spaces in your home with cool air during the warmer months of the year and heated air when it’s chilly outside.
A thermostat. This wall-mounted unit controls your entire heating and cooling system and allows you to set the temperature and airflow, and temperature to your desired setting.
The refrigeration cycle
Now that you know a bit about your central air conditioner’s components, let’s explore its refrigeration process step by step.
1. Refrigerant flows through the system’s refrigeration lines between the indoor unit and the outdoor one.
2. Warm air from your home’s inside living space is pulled through the ductwork by a fan.
3. Refrigerant is pumped from the compressor coil outside to the evaporator coil inside, absorbing heat from the indoor air.
4. The cooled air is distributed through the ductwork and vents in your home, lowering the temperature to the desired level.
5. This cycle repeats as often as necessary to make your home cool and comfortable.
Central air conditioning in detail
Now that you have some understanding of how central AC works, let’s dig a bit deeper into the process.
As we mentioned above, the thermostat monitors and controls the air temperature in your home. Cooling begins when the thermostat senses that the air is warmer than the target temperature. The thermostat then signals to the AC system to start running.
Once the inside and outside components begin to run, your furnace’s fan pulls hot air from inside your home through the return air ducts. The air then passes through air filters where dust and other airborne particles are trapped for easy removal when you clean or replace your filter. (You’re doing that every month, right?)
The air then passes over the cold evaporator coil, and as the liquid refrigerant inside the coil becomes a gas, the heat is absorbed into the refrigerant, cooling the air. Your indoor unit’s blower then pushes the cool air through your home’s ductwork to keep your family cool.
Next, the gas travels through copper piping to the outside compressor. The compressor then pressurizes the refrigerant gas back into liquid form and sends it to the condenser coil.
Your condenser unit’s fan pulls outside air through its condenser coil, allowing the air to absorb heat from your home and releases this heat outdoors. During this process, the now-liquid refrigerant then travels back to the indoor unit. Once there, it passes through a device that regulates the flow of refrigerant to the evaporator coil.
The cold refrigerant then absorbs more heat from your home’s indoor air, and the cycle continues.
Central air conditioning maintenance and repair
If your central AC decides to take the hottest day of the year off, don’t panic! Call Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling and get cool fast! Our expert HVAC technicians get the job done right every time! If you need emergency service, we provide 24-hour AC service to the Northeast Ohio area for a wide array of air conditioning repairs. Broken AC got you down? Call us for fast service – (844) HEY-NEIGHBOR!