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About Damien

Damien McCusker, Manager of Arpi's residential service division, has been working in the HVAC industry for 16 years and has hands-on experience in new home installations, furnace and air conditioner replacements, sales and residential service. He spends most of his spare time being an UBER driver, driving his kids to soccer practice and games.

The Air Conditioner: A Basic Guide to How It Works

Phil Laprairie

The Air Conditioner: A Basic Guide to How It WorksThe air conditioner in your Calgary home works hard to keep you comfortable all summer long, and knowing a little about how it works can help you troubleshoot common air conditioning problems and communicate effectively with HVAC professionals if something goes wrong with your system.

Your system is charged with refrigerant, which is a chemical that converts easily from liquid to gas and back again. The refrigerant is the vehicle that transfers heat energy from your home’s air to the air outside, and travels among the three main components of your air conditioner to do its job.

Evaporator
The refrigerant in your evaporator coil starts out as a cold liquid. Your system’s air handler blows air from your home over the coil, and the refrigerant inside absorbs the heat from the air. As it does so, it heats up and turns into a cool gas. At the same time, the humidity in the air condenses on the coil and drips into the condensate pan underneath.

Compressor
The cool gas travels to the compressor, located in your outdoor unit. The compressor squeezes the refrigerant, heating it up.

Condenser
The refrigerant, now a hot gas, moves on to the condenser, also located outdoors. A fan blows hot outdoor air across the hotter condenser coil. Because heat travels from warmer spaces to cooler spaces, the heat energy in the refrigerant is sent into the air outdoors. As the heat energy dissipates, the refrigerant cools down and turns back into a liquid. The liquid travels back to the evaporator, and the process begins again.

Proper air conditioner maintenance is essential for ensuring the correct amount of refrigerant and keeping your system operating efficiently throughout the cooling season. If you haven’t already scheduled your annual preventive tune-up, it’s not too late to reap the benefits:

  • Greater system efficiency.
  • Longer system life.
  • Lower utility costs.
  • Fewer repairs.

For more expert advice about how your air conditioner works and how you can maintain high system efficiency, please feel free to contact us at Arpi’s Industries, Ltd., helping to keep Calgary residents comfortable year round.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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