Air Conditioning 101: How Your AC Keeps Your Home Cool

Air conditioning is a basic fact of life in Arizona, especially in the Valley of the Sun, where we expect to have cooling systems operating through much of year. You certainly have an air conditioner installed in your home to keep back the often brutal heat. But how much have you thought about how that AC actually works?

There are numerous confusions about air conditioning operation, and we’d like to provide some clarity about what these amazing machines actually do to provide you with a comfortable living environment in your Arizona home.

Air conditioners, heat exchange, and refrigerant

The modern air conditioner is essentially a type of heat pump, i.e. an appliance that pumps heat from one place and puts it in another. In the case of an air conditioner, it removes heat (thermal energy) from inside a house and exhausts it to the outside. The standard central air conditioner in a home does this as a split system, with one cabinet indoors where heat is absorbed and the cooled air is blown into a ventilation system, and an outdoor unit where the heat is exhausted.

The medium that allows this process of heat exchange is a chemical blend known under the blanket term refrigerant. Refrigerant is a heat transfer fluid that can easily shift from liquid to gaseous state and back again. It absorbs heat through evaporation and turns into a gas, and then releases heat through condensation and turns back into a liquid.

Refrigerant starts the heat exchange cycle inside an AC component called the compressor, which is housed in the outside cabinet. The compressor increases the refrigerant gas to high temperature and pressure levels, and the refrigerant then moves through a coil exposed to the outside, the condensing coil. Condensation occurs, heat is lost, and the refrigerant cools down. It then moves toward the indoor coil, and as it passes through an expansion valve it loses pressure and changes into a cold liquid. As this liquid moves through the indoor evaporator coil, evaporation occurs and heat is absorbed along the coil. The warm refrigerant in gas form returns to the compressor, while the air cooled indoors is blown into the ventilation system so people throughout the house can enjoy relaxing temperatures.

Whatever you need for quality air conditioning in Scottsdale, AZ, you can trust Magic Touch Mechanical to deliver it.