Have you ever wondered how your air conditioner keeps your house cool? It blows cool air in through the vents, but how does it make that air cold in the first place? To find out, let’s take a look at the refrigeration cycle that A/Cs use for cooling.
How the Refrigerant Cycle Cools Your Home
It starts with refrigerant, a chemical also used in refrigerators and freezers. Refrigerant has a much lower boiling point than water, making it a gas at room temperature. It enters the A/C’s evaporator coil as a liquid and then boils, evaporating into a gas.
As the liquid changes to gas, warm air is blown across it, and it absorbs the heat. As the air cools, the moisture from it also condenses. The cooling process produces a lot of moisture as the air is dehumidified, and that moisture is captured by a drip pan. Meanwhile, the air is left cool, dry and ready to flow through the ductwork and into your home.
What happens to the refrigerant once the air is cooled? In its gaseous form, it’s sent into a compressor. Put under pressure, it’s heated to up to 140 degrees. From there, the compressed refrigerant flows into the condenser in the outdoor unit. The hot outdoor air, which is still not as hot as the refrigerant gas, absorbs the heat from the refrigerant and is blown out into the world.
From there, the cooled refrigerant gas passes into the expansion valve, where the pressure is relieved. Just as putting the gas under pressure caused it to heat suddenly, lowering the pressure quickly causes the refrigerant to cool down further, to the point where it can resume its liquid state. Once that’s done, it’s now ready to flow into the evaporator and begin the refrigeration cycle again.
Through this cycle, your HVAC system is able to turn warm, humid outdoor air into cool, dry air to keep your home comfortable all season long.
To learn more about the refrigeration cycle, or for quality HVAC service in Indianapolis, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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