I Don’t Get It: How Does Air Conditioning Work?

Posted by John Borden

Air conditioning technology is a fact of life in our modern world, and we don’t always appreciate how much it’s improved our lives. Before it came along, we had to suffer through heat waves and high humidity with only fans to circulate the air. In Palm Springs, air conditioning systems keep our homes cool and comfortable amid the intense desert heat waves. But how does air conditioning work, and what does that mean for me as an air conditioning owner?

Traditional air conditioning systems use refrigerant gases to enact the cooling cycle. The process starts when the gas enters a compressor, which subjects it to high pressure and raises the temperature accordingly. It then travels through a series of condensing coils, which lower the temperature and transform it into a liquid (which is still under high pressure). From there, it passes through an expansion valve, which acts a little bit like an aerosol can: spraying the high pressure refrigerant into an evaporator coil. As the refrigerant evaporates, it pulls heat out of the nearby air, cooling it. A blower fan then blows across the surface of the coils, sending it into a series of ducts that then travels through your home. The refrigerant – now a cool gas – returns to the compressor coils to start the cycle again.

As you may imagine, that’s a fairly complicated process and problems may arise when the equipment starts to break down. Leaking in the system can bleed refrigerant, reducing the air conditioning unit’s ability to cool your home. The compressor motor and other components may break down, shutting off the system entirely. Dirt can build up on the coils, preventing them from doing their job and causing ice to form on their surface.

When that happens, you would do best to contact a professional air conditioning technician in Palm Springs, as soon as you can. Trained air conditioning technicians can spot the problem quickly and treat it at the source, rather than simply treating the symptoms and moving on. In Palm Springs, the air conditioning servicemen at Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning are trained to handle any problems you might have. Call us today to get your air conditioning system running like it should.

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