Learn How an Air Conditioning System Works

Air conditioner information from the leader in Atlanta air conditioning companies

Zack Hammonds is a leader of Atlanta air conditioning companies. Why? We have the in-depth industry experience, the high level of service, and the industry best products that our customers demand for their homes. Part of our customer service is educating homeowners on their cooling systems. The more you understand the different components that keep you cool during a blazing Georgia summer, the better decisions you can make regarding service, maintenance and new equipment!

How An Air Conditioning System Works

trane-dealer-XC95_CE-air-handler-clean-air-smThe photo to the right features an air handler (also called a fan coil) and a Trane® advanced air cleaner. So why are we showing a picture of indoor equipment on an air conditioning page? Because the importance of proper cooling isn't just about the air conditioner that sits outside...but we're skipping ahead.

How it works: It's July and our Georgia summer air is so humid you can almost see it condensating on the windows. Your home air heats up, thermostat registers it is too warm inside, and then the cooling process begins:

  1. The air conditioner outside begins compressing refrigerant, which releases heat energy into the air, and chills the liquid refrigerant contained in copper tubing inside the air conditioner. This cold refrigerant is then pumped back inside via copper tubing.
  2. The indoor coil is a series of copper tubing contained in either an evaporator coil (when using a gas furnace) or air handler (when using a heat pump). The cold refrigerant from the air conditioner is sent to the indoor coil system.
  3. The fan motor in the furnace or air handler pulls air from your home, and forces it through the frigid indoor coil. This cools and dehumidifies the air. The conditioned air is then sent back into your home via ductwork.

Then the process repeats until the home is cooled down. So not only does the SEER (efficiency) rating of your air conditioner matter, but the efficiency of the indoor components also plays a large role in the cost of your utility bills.

Electric Heat Pump

If you have heard of a heat pump, but are confused as to what one does, we don't blame you - the name is confusing. A heat pump is identical to an air conditioner in regards to cooling. They too compress refrigerant, and send the frigid liquid back inside to the indoor coil. The primary difference in a heat pump is the ability to also heat your home. In the winter, a heat pump reverses the process. Instead of compressing refrigerant to dissipate heat energy, a heat pump pulls heat energy from the air, and uses that to heat the refrigerant. The heated refrigerant is sent inside to the indoor coil system.

Variable Speed Fan Motor

As you learned above, the fan motor is responsible for pulling air from your home via the return air duct, and then forcing that through the indoor coil. The fan motor is either contained in your furnace, or your air handler (an air handler is used for cooling or heat pump only installations). A variable speed fan motor operates quietly, more efficiently, and keeps your home more comfortable. Instead of full blast on or off, it is able to oscillate at different speeds, quietly moving conditioned air through the home and any indoor air quality components you have installed.

We hope this helped shed some light on your home air conditioning system. Additional items like indoor air quality products work with your cooling system to purify your indoor air, and keep your system running efficiently.

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