Beat the Heat in Kelowna: How Central AC Systems Work

central air conditioner outside of home

The summer months can get heated here in Okanagan Valley! Is your home ready to beat the heat? 

If your AC system needs a tune-up or you think it’s time to install a new system in your home, it might help to understand how it works. Changing the hot outdoor air into cold air to cool your home through a central air system a modern convenience you might not think much about—until your system fails or you decide you don’t want to spend another summer battling heat indoors. 

Don’t sweat through the summer! Central AC can keep you cool. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about central air. 

Why leave your home to the hands of a sub-par HVAC contractor? Call CE Plumbing & Heating today at 250-707-8285 and see why we’re the A/C company Kelowna homeowners trust most.

The Parts

  • To understand how does a home central air conditioner work, it’s best to start by learning the parts in the system. It’s more involved than a window air conditioning unit. However, the concept is similar: the air conditioner system pulls warm air in, cools it, then expels cold air to lower the temperature according to a specific setting. 

    Most central air systems include these parts:

    • An outdoor unit. You’ll recognize this as a large metal machine that holds the compressor, condenser coil, a fan, and some of the electrical components. 
    • An indoor unit. Usually located in a closet along with the furnace, the indoor unit usually contains the evaporator coil. You’ll also see plenty of pipes and the refrigeration line connect to the indoor unit. 
    • This is a chemical that runs through the pipes (or refrigerant lines) between the indoor and outdoor units. 
    • Air ducts. As the central air system cools the air, it pushes the cold air through air ducts in the floor or ceiling of your home.
    • The thermostat. This device controls your central air system to maintain the desired indoor temperature of your home. 

    In addition to these main central air conditioning components, central AC systems contain plenty of wiring, a dehumidifier, and an air filter to help circulate clean air throughout your house. One of the many benefits of having central AC is the ability to cool your home with one appliance, rather than multiple small units that sit in the windows.

    All of these parts work together to help you maintain your cool! But how?

The Process

Did you know that you start the process of your AC system? When you set the thermostat, you tell your AC system the temperature you want it to maintain to keep you cool during our hot Okanagan Valley summers.

Once your thermostat has its instructions, it communicates with the outdoor unit when it’s time to turn on and off to maintain the right temperature in your home.

As the unit powers on, the compressor begins pumping the refrigerant through the lines connected to the indoor unit. As the coolant passes through the lines and over the evaporator coils in the indoor unit, the coils become cool. 

The furnace blows air over the cooling coils. As the air passes over the cold evaporator coils, it becomes cooler as it’s forced through your vents and throughout your home.

The system’s refrigerant helps the evaporator coils absorb the heat from the air to make it cooler as it passes through the system. 

The heat has to go somewhere after the refrigerant removes it from the air. While the compressor continues working outside, it pumps the heated refrigerant back to the outdoor unit to release the heat. 

The process seems simple enough, but there’s more!

What Does the Outside Fan Do?

If you’ve been near an AC system’s outdoor unit, you’ve probably seen (and heard) the large fan blades spin the air underneath the metal case. Contrary to some beliefs, these fan blades don’t cool the air that blows through the ducts and into your home. 

That fan blows over the condenser coils in the outdoor unit to keep them cool while the unit disperses heat. Turning hot air into cold air takes place in the evaporator coils located in the part of the system inside your home. 

Your inside unit has a fan, too. It sits encased in the furnace and blows air over the evaporator coils and out into your home to keep you cool. 

Why Do I Need a Filter?

Regularly replacing the filter is a critical maintenance task to keep your central air system running well. The filter sits in the indoor unit, where it pulls warm air in to move it over the cooling evaporator coils. Without the filter, your AC system can pull dirt, dust, and debris into the system. 

When foreign objects or layers of dust collect in the system, it damages the parts and causes your air conditioner to malfunction. Plus, that dirt and dust in the air push through your AC unit and the air ducts into your home. 

Maintaining your air conditioner with a clean air filter keeps foreign particles from damaging your system and helps clean the air you breathe after it passes through your air ducts. 

Choosing the Right AC System

If you like the idea of maintaining your home’s cool temperatures during the summer, it’s time to consider a central air system.

However, not all central air systems are the right fit for your home. A new AC system is a significant (and worthwhile) investment, so it’s critical to find the best system for your home. 

Choosing the right system starts with the right HVAC professionals to guide you to the best system for your needs.

Depending on the size of your house and the efficiency you want from your system, your HVAC professional will recommend the best size and components to keep your home cool and energy-efficient

Keep Cool This Summer With Central AC

Don’t suffer through another hot Okanagan Valley summer without central AC! CE Plumbing & Heating is your local, licensed central air conditioning system experts. We’ll guide you through the process of choosing the right system for your home, then install it with the support of our work guarantees. Contact us to talk about staying cool!

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