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Air Conditioning Basics

Air Conditioning Basics

You may find yourself asking how does air conditioning work and want to know more about air conditioning basics. More appropriately, you may find yourself asking: why should I know, or even care, how it works as long as it keeps the space cool? You might find yourself needing some TLC or repairs/maintenance and knowing a bit more of your HVAC system and how it cools, could save you money.

Air Conditioning Basics

If it is a short answer that you are after, you should know how AC works to understand how to keep it working at peak performance. You’ll also be more likely to notice issues sooner and know when to call for assistance. Knowing this could be the difference between dealing with a small problem and a bigger, more expensive, problem.

Below, you will find some basic information that explains how most air-cooled systems and air conditioning works.

What Is An Air-Cooled System?

When a system is air-cooled, that means that it uses a refrigerant, a chemical substance, to remove heat from the air. You’ve likely heard of Freon before. This is an older refrigerant that is still used in older systems. Air-cooled air conditioning systems are typically found in homes and small commercial spaces.

For larger buildings, you will likely find a water-cooled air conditioning system. Instead of using a refrigerant, water-cooled systems use water, as the name suggests, to remove heat from the air.

What Does Refrigerant Do?

HVAC Basics Refrigerant

In air-cooled systems, the refrigerant is the most important part of the process. These chemicals can be converted from gases to liquids with relative ease. As the chemical changes, it both absorbs and releases heat. When your system is installed, a technician will add refrigerant which will cycle through your unit in a loop throughout your system’s life.

While the entire system can be complex, you should know that your system is designed to take advantage of refrigerants chemical properties. Because it both absorbs heat and moisture from inside and releases it outside, your system will have parts indoors and outdoors.

Outside, you will find the system’s compressor and condenser. The evaporator is located inside a building.

What Is The Process And What Are The Most Important Components?

Cooling the air in a building is a continuous loop. It begins by removing the heat from the air inside the building.

At the evaporator coil, the refrigerant becomes a gas and absorbs heat from the air surrounding the coil in the process. The coil is built in a way to provide a lot of surface area for the air to move over so the heat can be taken from it.

Now a cool gas, the refrigerant goes to the compressor. There, the gas is compressed into a hot gas which is pumped to the condenser. The condenser coil outside releases the heat absorbs inside.

How Does Air Flow Help?

The coils, both the evaporator and condenser coils, work in tandem to absorb and release heat but need help to do their jobs. Both the indoor and outdoor units of an AC system have fans. Outside, fans blow over the condenser coils to help it release heat into the air. The indoor fans blow air over the evaporator coils and into ducts.

Here at Cool Air NC we know that proper airflow is a critical part of your air conditioning system.

How Does AC Systems Remove Moisture?

Heat isn’t the only impediment to comfort. Humidity will also make your space uncomfortable.

Refrigerant actually removes moisture from the air. This moisture builds on the cold evaporator coil and is then pushed to condensation lines to drain.

Knowing how AC works will not only allow you to avoid small problems from becoming big ones, but they will also prevent you from being overcharged by unqualified vendors.

Take the time to learn how your system works so that you can keep it in tip-top shape and keep your space comfortable. Air conditioning basics are essential to maintaining your AC unit. If you want to know more about various services that we offer for AC units, contact us today!

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