How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record numbers across the country and most homes are using some type of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces in Alliance thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant easily changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central elements to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Alliance give us a call at 308-646-3827. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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