Air conditioning is more than a convenience. For example, if you have a lung condition, air conditioning could be essential so you can breathe more easily in hot, muggy weather. Being comfortable in your home is important, so chances are, you have or are considering a central air conditioning unit. Here's how an AC works to keep you cool.
One job an AC has is to lower humidity in your house. You feel cooler and can breathe more easily in drier air, although you don't want the air to be too dry. An air conditioner lowers humidity by pulling moisture out of the air inside the air handler. This moisture then drips in a pan and flows out of the house or down a drain depending on how the AC is installed.
If you ever see water collecting under your air handler, that's a sign the condensation pan is overflowing. The problem might be a clogged condensation drain. You'll want to have this problem repaired or the water may back up and harm the AC or ruin your floor.
While you may think of an AC blowing chilled air in your house to cool it, the actual cooling mechanism is when the AC pulls heat out of your house. This works through the use of refrigerant that flows through coils in the air handler and condenser.
Air gets pulled into the air handler where it passes over evaporator coils filled with refrigerant. The cold refrigerant pulls heat from the air and this causes the refrigerant to heat up. This is also what causes condensation that removes humidity.
When the refrigerant moves to the condenser outside, the heat is released and the refrigerant is compressed so it gets cold again, and the cycle continues. The result is less hot air inside your home along with cool air blowing from the AC registers.
Provides Direct Cooling
The air that's released outdoors is hot, but the air that blows out of your AC registers indoors is nice and cool. If you can position yourself near a register so the cool air hits your skin, you can cool down fast. This is because the breeze evaporates sweat from your skin. You can get a similar effect from running a fan with your air conditioner so the breeze enhances the effect of the air conditioning as long as the breeze hits your skin.
It's important to know how an air conditioner keeps you cool because that helps you understand why maintenance is so important. Anything that interferes with the cooling process, such as dust coating the coils in the air handler, a filter clogged with dust, or low refrigerant, will keep your home from being cool and comfortable. Reduce your risk of AC problems by having maintenance once a year and by getting repairs done as soon as you suspect your air conditioner has a problem.
For more information on how air conditioning works to cool your house, talk to an HVAC company near you.