How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season has arrived with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the best way to get out of the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner works, let’s take a peek at how a normal central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner operates the just like your refrigerator, but understandably instead of keeping a little space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular ring from the outside to the interior of your house. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or takes in heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then back to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is transferred back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is created out of four main parts: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The part where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside, in your attic, or in your garage. As warm indoor air is blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the colder air is driven throughout your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor increases the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows across the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is sent to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.

Your AC system is a constant loop of processes. We know the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s working successfully. If you’d like to think about the process or just about staying cool, give our technicians a call at 325-200-4667. We will work with you and the laws of physics to ensure you comfortable this summer.

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