The Ins and Outs of Air Conditioning

How do A/C units work? Not a very typical question, but it’s not as complicated as you might think. They are actually very similar to refrigerators in terms of how they are technologically broken down.

Before we explain the ins and outs of air conditioning, you need one piece of background knowledge: Liquids cool when they evaporate. For example, when sweat evaporates on your skin, it cools as it turns to gas. This process is known as phase conversion—and it’s basically the definition of air conditioning.

An A/C unit works through five simple steps:

  1. First, liquid spreads through pipes in your house.
  2. A fan blows hot air over the pipe coils so the liquid begins evaporating into a gas.
  3. This is when phase conversion comes into play. Once the liquid is converted to a gas, it cools—exactly like the sweat example above.
  4. As the pipes reach extremely cold temperatures, they begin cooling the house.
  5. In order to cool your home efficiently, the gas will need to be converted back into a liquid so the process can start over. A compressor places a large amount of pressure on the gas, which creates a high level of heat. This heat is released outside through a second fan—which is what you feel if you place your hand above the unit’s fan outside your home. After gas is heated, it will cool back into a liquid so the process of phase conversion can repeat itself.

If that sounds complicated, the entire process can be summarized like this: Refrigerants cool the inside of your house as a gas, and then they’re compressed and cooled to a liquid so they can repeat the cycle.

Questions? Our team at Synergy Services is here to help whenever you need us. Reach out today.