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The ABCs of Air Conditioning – How Air Conditioners Work

In the steamy hot southwest Florida climate a central air conditioner is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity. Air conditioners work hard to keep our homes comfortable, but you may not have given much thought about how they work. Here’s an overview of how a central air conditioner works.

Split Systems

A typical Florida central cooling system is a split system, which consists of an outdoor unit housing a condenser coil and compressor, and an indoor evaporator coil, usually installed in conjunction with an air handler inside the house.

AC Compressor

The compressor pumps a chemical refrigerant through the indoor evaporator coil. As warm air inside your home blows across the evaporator coil, the heat energy is transferred to the refrigerant inside the coil. It’s this transfer of heat that cools the air. The heat absorbed by the refrigerant is sent outside while cooled air is blown back inside. This condensing process also removes excess humidity from the air.

Thermostat

The central air conditioner is controlled by the thermostat, which is designed to keep the temperature at a consistent, comfortable level. In many cases a thermostat can be programmed to cool the home only when it’s occupied, saving energy.

Air Ducts

Finally, the cooled air is circulated throughout the home by ductwork, vents and registers.

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