Summers in Wichita can get uncomfortably warm, which means that air conditioners get a good workout. You’ve probably been relying heavily on your own system. But are you familiar with how an air conditioner works? Having a basic understanding can help you spot issues if they develop.
Split air conditioners, which are common in Wichita-area homes, typically have two units, each with specific tasks to keep you cool.
The air handler
The air handler is generally located in a basement, utility room or utility closet. This is where the air is cooled and transferred to your rooms.
- Cold liquid refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil. A fan blows warm air from the various rooms in your home over the coil. The coil absorbs the heat, and the cooled air moves through your ductwork into your living space.
- The fan then draws air back to the unit through the return ducts in your home.
- A filter in the air handler removes particulates from the air before it passes over the evaporator coil.
- As the fan blows air over the evaporator coil, excess moisture is eliminated, reducing the humidity. The condensate pan collects the moisture and releases it to a drain.
The condenser unit is outside, ideally in an area free of shrubs and debris, which allows it to operate effortlessly. The condenser transfers the warm air from your home to the outside air. The refrigerant in the system, which is continually changing from liquid to gas and back to liquid, allows this release of warm air.
- The refrigerant arrives from the evaporator coil as a gas.
- The refrigerant gas then enters the compressor where it is compressed into a high pressure gas. A fan cools the high pressure gas into a liquid causing the heat absorbed by the refrigerant to be released into the outside air.
- The liquid refrigerant then flows from the outside unit back to the evaporator coil to again absorb heat from inside your home.
Your air conditioner is a remarkable piece of machinery. And even though it works effortlessly most of the time, maintenance is essential, and every once in awhile a system can develop a problem. If you need help with your air conditioner, contact the professionals at Comfort Systems. We serve homeowners throughout Wichita, and we’re only a phone call away.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).