Most people have no idea the role that air conditioners play in their lives. We take them totally for granted but the fact is that our lives would be absolutely miserable if we did not have them. Having said that, its funny how many people have no earthly idea how the system that keeps them comfortable throughout half the year. The majority of the public has little clue about what their central air conditioning system comprises of or how, in fact, it produces the cold air that circulates throughout their house.
First, you need to understand that your air conditioner is comprised of two main parts. They are the condenser and the evaporator. Lines and air ducts connect the two.
Lets start with the condenser. This is the square box on the outside of your house. It is comprised of your refrigerant, a compressor and a fan blower. The refrigerant is compressed from a gas state to a liquid state. When this happens it gets pretty hot. The fan above it acts as a radiator and cools it.
The refrigerant, in its liquid state, then travels through special copper coils to the inside of your house, into the evaporator. Inside the evaporator it totally cools the hot air that has been pulled from the house. Once the air is cooled there is a fan blower that circulates it through the air ducts and back into all the rooms of a home or a building.
Hot air is lighter than cold air so it rises. Most of the hot air is high off the ground so top vents in your home suck the hot air out of a room and cold air is blown through the bottom vents. The hot air that is sucked through vents is brought back into the evaporator to be re-cooled and re-circulated throughout your home. Most of the air in your home is reused again and again and is chilled, or cooled, again and again. That is the reason why its nice to have a humidifier of some sort because the air can become dry after some time as all the moisture is taken out of it.
When people have problems with their A/C system is usually boils down to two issues. The coils that take the refrigerant from the condenser to the evaporator are dirty, and therefore clogged, or the system is low on refrigerant and the air is not being chilled adequately. Each one of those problems can be fixed rather easily though it is always recommended that you have a certified heating and cooling service repairman add any refrigerant to your system, should it require it, as the substance is highly toxic