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The ABCs of AC – How Central Air Conditioners Work

Posted on: March 10, 2015

With our steamy hot Chicagoland summers, a central air conditioner is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity. Air conditioners work hard to keep our homes comfortable, but have you ever thought about how they work? Here’s a brief overview.

Split Systems

A typical central cooling system is a split system, meaning it consists of an outdoor unit housing a condenser coil and compressor, and an indoor evaporator coil, usually installed in conjunction with an air handler inside the house.

The AC Compressor

The compressor pumps a chemical refrigerant through the indoor evaporator coil. As warm air inside your home blows across the evaporator coil, the heat energy is transferred to the refrigerant inside the coil. It’s this transfer of heat that cools the air. The heat absorbed by the refrigerant is sent outside while cooled air is blown back inside. This condensing process also removes excess humidity from the air.

Air Ducts

A home’s ductwork is designed to distribute conditioned air throughout your home, air then returns to the air handler to repeat the process again.

Thermostat

The thermostat is the “brains” of the central heating and cooling system. Once the temperature is programmed, it maintains an even temperature. Some thermostats can be programmed to work on a schedule, saving energy when the house is unoccupied.

Have questions about your central air conditioner? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric, we’re here to help.

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