LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative


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How AC Works

How AC Works

A visual sequence of events

Thermostat (1) simultaneously energizes indoor blower (10), outside condenser fan (5), and compressor (3).

Refrigerant (2) enters compressor (3) as a low temperature (LT), low pressure (LP) gas.

Compressor’s (3) “squeezing” action converts LT/LP gas to high temperature (HT), high pressure (HP) gas as it leaves compressor and enters condenser coil (4).

Condenser fan (5) transfers heat from HP/HT gas to the outside air (6); this reduces gas to HP/LT liquid (7).

HP/LT liquid (7) leaves condenser coil (4) and enters evaporator coil (8) through a narrow orifice (expansion valve).

As liquid expands, it loses pressure, reverting back to a LT/LP gas. This LT/LP gas, flowing through the evaporator coil (8), absorbs heat from the return air (9) circulated over the evaporator coil (8) by the indoor blower (10) and returns (2) to the compressor (3) to start a new cycle.

How your thermostat setting affects the cost of air conditioning

The thermostat setting is a critical factor when determining how much it will cost to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. The thermostat chart below gives the estimated difference in operating costs from one degree setting to another. As the chart shows, lowering the thermostat setting will increase the operating cost. A difference of only one degree (from 78 to 77) will increase the operating cost approximately 8 percent. The difference between a setting of 78 and 73 degrees is about 50 percent. In dollar terms, if the air conditioning portion of your electric bill normally costs you $30 a month with a thermostat setting of 78 degrees, lowering that setting to 73 degrees would cost $15 more.

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