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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

How Does My AC Actually Cool the Air?

relaxing-manWe all love our air conditioning systems, particularly when the heat and humidity of the summer season are really in full swing. As long as the system is up and running reliably, most homeowners are happy and don’t really give the system much more thought. While we certainly don’t mean to imply that you should ever attempt to service your air conditioner on your own, we do think that you should have some understanding of how your air conditioner in Arlington works.

Today, we are going to explore just that. Before we do, keep in mind that, simple as our explanation here may sound, whole-house air conditioning systems of all kinds are actually quite complex. The key to getting the very best performance possible from any air conditioning system is to schedule your AC installation, maintenance, and repairs with trained professionals—you know, like the ones on our staff! So read on, enjoy learning a bit more about your AC’s performance, and keep our number handy. 

We Need to Talk About Refrigerant

With the exception of the evaporative cooler, air conditioning systems rely upon a refrigerant cycle in order to cool homes. Remember that an AC doesn’t create new coolness the way that a boiler or furnace will burn fuel to create new heat. Instead, the system cools a house through the removal of heat that is in the air in your home. To remove that heat, the system evaporates refrigerant. This occurs in the admittedly uncreatively named evaporator coil.

As refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coil, it draws heat out of the air passing over it. That hot refrigerant goes out to the condenser coil where, you guessed it, it is condensed. The cycle continues until desired temperatures are met throughout the house. The cooled air is distributed throughout the house via ductwork in a central AC system (while the blower units of a ductless system handle evaporation and air distribution themselves).

This Is Why Refrigerant Leaks Are So Serious

Because the entire cooling process hinges on the evaporation of refrigerant in the system, a low refrigerant charge is an incredibly serious problem. When an air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it typically means that there is a leak in the system. Yes, it’s possible the AC was improperly charged at the time of installation, but a leak is far more likely.

This is a major issue because the system can overheat in its efforts to cool your home with an insufficient refrigerant charge. That can lead to short cycling and seriously reduced efficiency, even as you are paying more and more to cool your home. The coil can also get too cold, allowing condensation to freeze on it and resulting in an insulating layer of ice. Run the system on low enough refrigerant levels for long enough, and you could even wind up damaging the compressor beyond repair.

If you ever notice that your air conditioner just is not doing the job as well as it once did, let us know right away. The sooner that we are able to fix the problem, the better off your air conditioner is likely to be.

Schedule your AC services with Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.

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