How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are climbing to record highs around the states and many homes are using some type of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at True Temp Heating & Air Inc in Chatsworth thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner runs in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a bigger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from your indoor air and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit outside where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

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

The evaporator coil is where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is changed 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 converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Chatsworth you can reach us at 706-695-7492. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.