Most homeowners enjoy the cool air supplied by their air conditioner without a thought to how the system works. The cooled air that travels throughout the home is possible through the functions of the evaporator and condenser coils. Together, these two components work together, to provide cool, comfortable air to your home.
Pressure and Gas
The air conditioner uses a fundamental of physics to cool air. Under pressure, gas contracts and the temperature rises. As that pressure is released, the gas contracts and then cools. Pressurized coolant is used by the evaporator and condenser coils in four steps:
- An expansion valve reduces pressure on the liquid coolant.
- The evaporator coil allows the coolant to become gas and absorb heat.
- The compressor puts pressure on the gas.
- The condenser coil returns the coolant to liquid state and releases the heat.
This process occurs on an ongoing basis through the evaporator and condenser coils as long as the air conditioner is running.
The transfer of heat from the air occurs in the air conditioner evaporator coils, located within the indoor unit. Inside each of the coils is coolant, and as air passes over the coils, the coolant evaporates. This causes heat to sink and be redirected outside the home. The newly cooled air is then distributed throughout the home using the HVAC system’s ductwork.
In addition to transferring heat from the air, the cooling process results in condensation. Cooled air can hold less moisture than warm air so when the air is cooled, condensation results. This process removes humidity from the air, improving indoor air comfort. The excess water is removed from the HVAC system through drains.
In order to function properly, evaporator coils and the entire cooling system must be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. When covered in dust and debris, the components of your HVAC system can’t run effectively. Both airflow and cooling power is diminished, which decreases the energy efficiency of the entire HVAC system.
Changing air filters regularly can decrease the amount of dust and debris that accumulates in your HVAC system. Additionally, having annual preventive maintenance done can ensure the system is cleaned properly and that issues with the evaporator coils are addressed before they become major problems.
Condenser coils are a key component that’s located inside the air condenser’s outdoor unit. It’s through the condenser coils that the heat from the indoor air is released to the outdoors. The act of moving the excess heat is aided by exhaust fans that quickly move heated air away from the home. Despite the number of items that can accumulate on outdoor units, they’re easier to clean than indoor units. Typically, condenser coils may be cleaned by first turning off power to the unit, then using a garden hose to wash away debris.
If the outdoor unit hasn’t been cleaned or maintained in some time, it’s best to have maintenance performed by a HVAC expert. Once that’s done, homeowners can return to cleaning the system on their own. Learn more about evaporator and condenser coils, as well as United Air Conditioning’s air conditioning options, or give us a call at 727-470-6803 to schedule an appointment.
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