Do you know how your air conditioner works? If not, don’t worry,
most homeowners actually don’t either. The process for cooling the
air in your home relies on lots of different things to work right, and
many different components in your system all need to work properly in
order for this process to be possible. Of all these components, perhaps
none are more important that the “coils” in your air conditioner.
What are these components and what do they do? Read on for a brief description
of what they do and why it’s important to make sure they’re
What Coils Do
Coils are the primary device for heat transfer in your air conditioning
and central heating systems. Heat transfer is essentially the central
principal of how your air conditioner works: your indoor unit extracts
heat from your indoor air and sends it outside where it is then transferred
back into the atmosphere. As a result, the air inside cools and the air
outside gets warmer.
To do this, your air conditioner actually has
two sets of coils: evaporator coils, and condenser coils.
Your evaporator coils are found in your indoor unit, near the blower fan.
Your evaporator coils work on the same principle that your own body does
when it sweats to keep you cool—a process known as “evaporative
These coils are fed cold refrigerant, which makes the metal coils themselves
cold. The cold metal surface causes water to condense out of the air,
which then cools air that the blower motor forces over the coils themselves.
At the same time, the heat that was in this air is absorbed by the refrigerant
in your coils and sent back outside your home, creating the cool, treated
air. The blower fan then sends the air that has been cooled and dried
out back into your home, which keeps you cool and comfortable. This also
explains how air conditioners act as de-humidifiers.
The condenser coils are the equally-important other half of your air conditioning
system that are found outside your home. Once the refrigerant has passed
through the long path made up by your evaporator coils, it’s then
sent along copper pipes back out to your outdoor unit, where it is put
through a device called a “heat pump.” The heat pump condenses
your refrigerant, causing it to turn from a hot liquid to a super-hot
gas. The gas is then fed along more copper pipe to your condenser coils.
Your condenser is actually a whole unit with several parts, but to put
it simple, the hot gaseous refrigerant is fed along the exposed copper
network known as your condenser coils. While in this area, a fan pulls
air over the coils, causing the refrigerant inside to cool and the heat
to be ejected out into the atmosphere, which is why the air coming from
your outdoor unit feels so hot. From there, the cooler gas refrigerant
is fed along more lines back into your home to one final device: an expansion
valve, which allows the refrigerant to de-compress, turning back into
liquid form, which also causes the refrigerant to become cold again and
then start the process all over back at your evaporator core.
Why the Coil Shape?
Why are coils in the weaving pattern shape we see them in? Simple: in both
your evaporator and condenser coils, you want to give the refrigerant
as much time as possible to be exposed to the airflow created by the blower
motors. This allows for the most heat transfer, which makes your entire
system more energy-efficient. In your evaporator core, that means more
air will be blown over the cold refrigerant, allowing it to absorb the
most heat and make your home even colder. In your condenser unit, the
longer path means your refrigerant can shed more heat, meaning it gets
back to your expansion chamber cooler, allowing it to get even colder
before being fed back into your indoor unit.
If you’re experiencing an issue with either your evaporator or condenser
coils, or you need your coils cleaned, schedule a service appointment
with our Palm Beach County air conditioning experts today!
Call Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC at (888) 660-4337 to find out more.