What does an Air Conditioning Evaporator do?

As you enjoy a little respite from the Florida heat this summer, your thoughts might drift towards your air conditioner and how it works. There are plenty of parts that make this modern marvel function properly, which makes caring for your AC system a top priority for your home. The evaporator is one of several essential components that make up your air conditioner. We’ll go in depth about how what it does, how it works and what to do if it’s not working properly.

How Air Conditioning Works

To better understand how an AC evaporator works, let’s take a quick look at the entire air conditioning system and how it works. In a nutshell, air conditioners take advantage of physics to bring indoor temperatures under control. As it turns out, converting a liquid to a gas also allows it to absorb heat, whereas converting a gas to a liquid causes it to shed heat.

Air conditioners contain refrigerant and use that to essentially remove heat from one area and release it in another. That’s made possible with refrigerant as a medium. The air conditioner turns the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid at various stages of its operation, allowing it to absorb and shed heat as needed.

Of course, there has to be a way for the air conditioner to properly extract heat from your indoor spaces. That’s where the evaporator comes into play.

Anatomy of an Evaporator

if you’ve ever seen a car’s radiator, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the AC evaporator looks like. Like a radiator, an AC evaporator is a series of U-shaped tubes made from heat-conducting copper with aluminum fins on the outside to better transfer heat. The fins also allow air to pass through the evaporator, which is important.

As your AC system runs, it pulls refrigerant in its low-pressure liquid state through an expansion valve just before it enters the evaporator. The expansion valve relieves that pressure, allowing the refrigerant to expand and subsequently absorb heat from the surrounding air. Think of how a can of compressed air gets colder as you spray.

Air that passes through the evaporator becomes colder, which in turn cools your home. The refrigerant heads for the condenser, which does the opposite of what the evaporator does and instead sheds heat once it reaches an outdoor space.

What Happens When Your AC Evaporator Fails

Cleanliness is an important part of keeping your AC evaporator in working condition. Even a fine layer of dust and debris can significantly impact your evaporator, and in turn, your air conditioner’s overall performance and efficiency. In fact, dirty coils can cause your AC system to use 30% more energy than average.

Evaporators are also prone to freezing, especially when they’re not cleaned properly. A frozen evaporator can also negatively impact your AC system’s performance and even shorten its service life. Common signs of evaporator trouble include:

  • Visible ice buildup on your air conditioner
  • Poor cooling performance
  • Little to no airflow
  • Heavy debris buildup on the evaporator

We’ll Take Care of Your AC Evaporator

Ignoring your AC evaporator also means ignoring the rest of your air conditioning system. Steps as simple as changing your AC filter on a monthly basis can help prevent AC evaporator problems. If your AC evaporator or any other part of your AC unit needs service, just contact us and set up an appointment today.

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