A functional and efficient AC system in a home is something that one cannot take for granted. When users want to lower the temperature and bring in a cooler air flow, they just need to just turn down the thermostat.
A simple touch of a button can transform the room. However, the system is a lot more complicated than many think with continuous physical and chemical processes at work.There are lots of different components across the property, all working together for an elaborate, efficient system. It is helpful for homeowners to understand more about how a central AC system operates in cases of problems and repairs are due or for the need for an upgrade.
Introduction to the Process and Parts of the Central AC System
The thermostat is important as it tells the home heating and cooling systems what temperature users want. The AC still needs to bring the air to the required temperature and transport to all necessary areas of the room.
The transportation of the cold air occurs via the ducts in the home. These pipes form a series of interconnecting wind tunnels between the chambers for the cold air to circulate freely.
This broad system is highly beneficial for maintaining a cold, pleasant temperature across the home and circulating clean air. This clean, appealing air source gets support by the use of air filters that collect dust, allergens, and pollutants. This is the part that we can see within the home, the part that immediately makes sense to the uninitiated.
However, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. The next important question for all those that need to know more about how a central AC system works is simple.
How Does the Air Become Cold?
Refrigeration lines are running between the equipment, which circulates refrigerant to cool the air. These pipes are often copper and full of cold liquids like freon.
Temperature changes transform the freon from liquid to gas, as the refrigerant absorbs the heat of the warm air. This occurs on the aptly named evaporator coil. This is just one of the ways that these complex systems work to cool the air.
The vaporized coolant travels to the compressor, where pressure is then added to help it flow through the system. Fans are also useful for helping these large central systems to allow large-scale, widespread cooling.
This complex system of heating and cooling is why there are often two major structural elements to the central AC system.
There are two important features of the AC system that we are yet to touch upon.
The Furnace and the Outdoor Unit
It is easy to forget about the outdoor unit – out of sight, out of mind. This is the starting point for the whole process.
A fault here can have some serious knock-on effects for the entire system. This is where the external air is then brought into the system to cool. This is also achievable through a fan and the condenser coil, which begins the cooling process.
If a fault occurs in the fan and the entry of the air, there will be nothing for the cooling system to do. In many cases, homeowners will find that their system is a split system.
This means that the condenser and compressor are outside and the evaporator is inside with the furnace. However, there are package systems that place all three together.
These systems are ideal when functioning, but one misfiring step can be a big problem.
With a fully-functioning central AC system, this will be an on-going cycle. The air will be continually drawn in, pumped around the home and replaced with cooler air. The refrigerant will also continuously flow between the evaporator and compressor coils in liquid and gas to aid the process.
The problem comes when one of these processes, or one of the parts, breaks down. The complexity and synergy of a functioning AC are great when it works, but not when there is an issue. That is why this knowledge on the structure and inner workings of the system is so necessary.
The more homeowners know about their central AC system, the easier it is to locate an issue and communicate the problem to an professional repair technician. And remember to always check your air filters and to clean or replace them on a regular basis.