How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season has arrived with record heat across the country, and with a lot households having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the best way to beat the heat. As you are relaxing in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner runs well, let’s gain some insight at how a normal central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the similar to your refrigerator, but clearly rather than keeping a single space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that changes simply from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant loop from the exterior to indoors. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or absorbs heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is built of four key pieces: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

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

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor enhances 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 less hot air blows across the coil, moving heat to the outdoors, and returns the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.

Your air conditioner is a consistent loop of processes. We understand the important thing to you likely isn’t what happens behind the scenes, but that it’s operating correctly. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about remaining cool, give our experts a call at 214-261-0034 or arrange an appointment with us online. We will work with you and the laws of physics to confirm you happy this season.

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