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How Air Conditioning Systems Work

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Heat pumps and most central air conditioners are called "split systems" because there is an outdoor unit (called a condenser) and an indoor unit (an evaporator coil). The job of the heat pump or air conditioner is to transport heat from one of these units to the other. In the summer, for example, the system extracts heat from indoor air and transfers it outside, leaving cooled indoor air to be recirculated through your ducts by a fan.

A substance called a refrigerant carries the heat from one area to another. Basically, here's how it works:

The compressor in your outdoor unit will change the gaseous refrigerant into a high temperature, high-pressure gas. As that gas flows through the outdoor coil, it loses heat. That makes the refrigerant condense into a high temperature, high pressure liquid that flows through copper tubing into the evaporator coil located in your fan coil unit or attached to your furnace.

At that point, the liquid refrigerant is allowed to expand, turning the liquid refrigerant into a low temperature, low pressure gas. The gas then absorbs heat from the air circulating in your home's ductwork, leaving it full of cooler air to be distributed throughout the house. Meanwhile, the low temperature, low pressure refrigerant gas returns to the compressor to begin the cycle all over again.

While your air conditioner or heat pump cools the air, it also dehumidifies it. That's because warm air passing over the indoor evaporator coil cannot hold as much moisture as it carried at a higher temperature, before it was cooled. The extra moisture condenses on the outside of the coils and is carried away through a drain. The process is similar to what happens on a hot, humid day, when condensed moisture beads up on the outside of a glass of cold lemonade.

The same process works in reverse in a heat pump during the winter. The heat pump takes heat out of the outside air - or out of the ground, if you have a geothermal heat pump - and it moves that heat inside, where it is transferred from the evaporator coil to the air circulating through your home.

That's not a typographical error, by the way- the heat pump moves heat from outside to warm your home, even on a cold day. That's because "cold" is a relative term. Air as cold as 30 degrees still contains a great deal of heat - the temperature at which air no longer carries any heat is well below -200 degrees Fahrenheit. A heat pump's heat exchanger can squeeze heat out of cold air, then transfer that heat into your home with the help of a fan which circulates the warm air through your ducts.

Heat pumps are often installed with back-up electric resistance heat or a furnace to handle heating requirements when more heat is needed than the heat pump can efficiently extract from the air.

Information Provided by Consumer Energy Center
 

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First Service Springfield Missouri

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Are you looking for an HVAC contractor? An HVAC contractor who can service your heating and air conditioning equipment?  HVAC Contractors can install air conditioning and heating systems into residential homes and light commercial buildings. Are you looking for a contractor in Southwest Missouri? Someone who can service your resident or light commercial building in Springfield, Nixa, Ozark, Republic and surrounding areas? First Service Heating and Air Condition can help. First Service can provide mechanics to service your central heating unit or to install a cooling system into your home. Our staff can recommend a system so that your home or office is properly vented and getting enough clean air through the vents and HVAC unit. You will find there are many different sizes of pumps, ducts, furnaces, and heaters available. You can also decide if you want to use gas, propane, or oil. If your air conditioning or heating unit is having problems, First Service Heating and Air Condition may find that you need a replacement pump system or it may just be an error in the thermostat.  First Service Heating and Air Condition have the proper training necessary to take on this type of work. Maintaining the proper temperature in a home can be a challenge when it comes to controlling where the air goes. Proper duct placement and efficient vents are needed in rooms throughout the home. Coil heating systems will have benefits when compared to electric heaters.  First Service Heating and Air Condition will be able to install industrial sized air conditioning units in light commercial properties as well as gas, propane, or oil units for residential homes. Call 417-883-5015 for details.