Have you ever wondered how your AC system works to cool your home? Andersen Heating & Cooling is here to explain the basics of how your air conditioning works so you can better understand your home. It is important as a homeowner to be aware of the components that make up your HVAC system and what they do for your home. This also helps you as a consumer to know what you are being charged for during a repair or installation call from an HVAC contractor. To better understand the process, we are going to break down your HVAC cooling cycle into two parts- the flow of refrigerant and the circulation of the air.
The Refrigerant Cycle
To start the cooling process off, refrigerant starts in the outdoor condenser unit. The condenser fan blows air over the condenser coil when the unit is on, helping release the heat from the refrigerant back into the outside air. The refrigerant is then condensed in the condenser coil and sent off through insulated piping up to your evaporator coil.
The evaporator coil is housed inside the air handler, which is usually located in the attic or crawlspace of your home. When the refrigerant reaches the evaporator coil, it expands from a liquid to a gas which cools the refrigerant. The evaporator coil, cooled by the refrigerant, gathers water condensate on its exterior, collecting and draining it through piping out of your home. This helps to lower humidity in your home as long as your unit is running. The refrigerant is then recycled back down to the condenser coil to release heat and start the process over again!
The Air Cycle
Dominated by ductwork, fans and vents, your home’s airflow is responsible for how comfortable you feel inside. It all starts at the air handler- this unit has the return and filters to clean the air, contains the blower and houses the evaporator coil. The return draws air from your home into your air handler through your return air vents to capture warmer air. These are the larger vents, usually containing a throw away filter, and can be located in the ceiling, sidewall, or floor. The blower fans then run the air over the cooled evaporator coils to remove heat from the air. This also distributes the air through your ductwork and out of the vents, cooling the air in your home. Once the air is heated and rises back to the higher vents, it is pulled back into the air handler to be cooled and filtered again.
We hope this information has enlightened you on your home’s heating and cooling process and gives you an idea of what kind of maintenance and repairs these units require. After all, they do a lot of work to keep us comfortable in our homes every day. If you think any part of your HVAC system is functioning below par, think of Mr. Andersen and contact us here at Andersen Heating & Cooling for your next checkup or repair.