AC Refrigeration Cycle Provides Comfort
The AC Refrigeration Cycle: How it Works to Keep Your Home Cool

August 30, 2019

The air conditioner in your Neptune Beach, Florida, home may seem complex. But understanding how your system works is much easier than you think. After learning more about the different parts of your air conditioner and the refrigeration cycle, you’ll have a better grasp of how your system cools your home. Here’s a quick guide to how your air conditioner works and a few common problems you may notice.

Parts of Your System

Before we learn about the refrigeration cycle, it’s a good idea to take a look at the most important parts of your AC system. Your air conditioning system includes both indoor and outdoor components, all of which are important to the cooling process.

The thermostat is a crucial air conditioner part. It’s responsible for both setting the temperature and signaling to your system when it should turn on and off. Indoors, your system includes a blower that circulates air through your ductwork, an evaporator coil that helps to cool the air, and return and air vents. You’ll also find an indoor air filter that works to remove contaminants from your air.

Your outdoor air conditioning unit also contains several important parts. For instance, your unit will have a compressor coil and a condenser coil, both of which are vital to the refrigeration cycle. It’ll also have a fan.

Indoor Refrigeration Cycle

The refrigeration cycle begins indoors with your thermostat. The thermostat measures the temperature in your home and, when the temperature is above your desired level, it’ll signal your air conditioner to turn on. When your AC system activates, the indoor fan will draw the hot air in your house into your return vents and through your air ducts.

Before getting cooled, the warm air passes through the air filter to make sure there’s no dirt, dust or other contaminants. Next, the warm air passes over your evaporator coil, which contains refrigerant. As the air moves over the coil, the refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas. During this process, the system removes heat from the air. Afterward, the blower moves the cool air through your ductwork and into your home.

Outdoor Refrigeration Cycle

Although the air in your home is now cool, the refrigeration cycle isn’t yet complete. The heat energy absorbed by the evaporator coil still needs to be released, and this is where your outdoor component comes into play.

The gas refrigerant moves through copper tubing from the indoor evaporator coil to the outdoor compressor, which works to increase the pressure of the gas. After pressurization, the refrigerant passes through the condenser coil. Then, the fan releases the heat energy into the outdoor air. As it releases the heat energy, the refrigerant changes back into a liquid, passes through an expansion valve, and travels back through the copper tubing into your condenser coil.

Problems With the Refrigeration Cycle

Several issues can interfere with the refrigeration cycle and prevent your air conditioner from cooling your home effectively. For instance, if there’s a refrigerant leak in your system, the evaporator and condenser coils won’t transfer heat energy effectively. As a result, your home will feel much warmer than it should.

Problems with the coils themselves can also cause issues with your air conditioner. For example, condenser coils can sometimes ice up, which can cause your system to become nonoperational. An issue with your expansion valve can prevent refrigerant from transferring back into the evaporator coil. Every air conditioner component must work together to cool your home. If there’s a problem with one part, your system may not function correctly.

Once you know how your air conditioner works, it should be easier for you to detect when there’s an issue. If you need air conditioner repairs, call the professionals at Ocean State Air Conditioning & Heating at (904) 574-5619. Our service technicians know how to keep your system up and running so that your Florida home is always cool and comfortable.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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