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The first modern air conditioner was introduced in 1902 by a young man named William Carrier. Back then, the air conditioner was used to offset humidity. Though the job has changed, the technicalities have stayed the same. For those wondering how does an air conditioner work, we’re explaining everything below.
Carrier’s first AC system used a fan and steam coils. The steam coils were filled with cold water and the fan blew ambient air over said coils. As the air travelled over the cold coils, any excess humidity would condensate on the coils and produce nice, somewhat cool air.
While the machines look incredibly different, they way the function is essentially the same. Think of your air conditioner as a refrigerator. However, instead of a stainless steel box, the walls of your home keep the cool air in.
Every central air conditioning unit has 6 main parts. While it takes more than these key parts to make the system function at its highest level, no HVAC system could successfully do its job without these pieces.
The central air system is broken into two parts. One inside the house and one outside the house. Both these parts rely on refrigerant to keep your home cool.
One of the things we say a lot is that a central air system recycles air. When you turn on your HVAC system and set it to AC, the first thing it does is to pull air that’s already in your home into the HVAC system.
After, the cool air is sent into your home. Then the refrigerant, now an incredibly hot vapor, is transported outside to the condenser. Refrigerant travels between the furnace and the condenser by way of the compressor.
As the hot vapor—full of heat and humidity from your treated air—flows from the evaporator coil to the condenser, it is exposed to the outdoor air. The ambient outdoor air pulls heat from the refrigerant, which changes the refrigerant from a vapor or gas back to a liquid.
When the refrigerant converts back to a liquid, it’s cool again and ready to repeat the process. This cycle continues until your home is at the temperature specified on your thermostat.
When it comes to air conditioning options, most homeowners have a few they can choose from. We’re not here to tell you which one is best, it all depends on your individual situation. Here are the 4 most common types of air conditioners: