- How air conditioners work is not as complicated as you may think
- Air conditioners harness the phenomenon of evaporation
- An evaporator coil, housed in the main air handler unit, turns the refrigerant into a gas which strips heat from the surrounding air
Having a central air conditioner in Salt Lake City or Park City has become commonplace and widely desired. Air conditioners keep your homes and offices cool and refreshing during the summer. How air conditioners work is not as complicated as you may think, and it can be helpful to understand how these systems operate.
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Air conditioners harness the phenomenon of evaporation. In general, when a liquid changes into a gas during the process of evaporation, it absorbs heat. Chemicals known as “refrigerant” convert liquid to gas and gas back to liquid within the air conditioning unit to remove heat from the air, cooling your home.
Your air conditioner and heating system are likely located in the same place, such as a utility closet or the basement. An evaporator coil, housed in the main air handler unit, turns the refrigerant into a gas. Through this process, heat is removed from the surrounding air within the air handler unit. This air is then circulated through the house, keeping your residence cool.
Once the cool air is blown into the house, the gaseous refrigerant travels to a component of the air conditioner that sits outside of your house. This part of the unit contains a compressor that converts the gas back to a liquid. As the gas is being compressed, heat is created. The system is equipped with a fan to help dispel the heat. The liquid refrigerant then migrates back to the evaporator coil inside your home and the process starts all over again.
Freon, which is comprised of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS), used to be the most widely used refrigerant. After scientists discovered that Freon was causing harm to the ozone layer, they developed alternative refrigerants. Most residential systems now use Puron, EcoFluor, or Genetron as refrigerants. They are made of chlorine-free, more environmentally friendly chemicals that don’t threaten the ozone layer. So, rest assured, you can stay cool without worrying too much about the environment.