How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season is here with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some type of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to beat the heat. As you are relaxing in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how an average AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner operates the just like your refrigerator, but obviously compared to keeping a single space cool, it has to cool your entire home. Both use a refrigerant that adapts swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent loop from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the interior as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or absorbs heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then heads 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 built of four key components: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The component 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 in your garage. As warm indoor air is carried throughout the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooled air is pushed throughout your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor based in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor meets the condenser coil where a smaller amount hot air blows across the coil, removing heat to the outdoors, and switches 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 redone.

Your air conditioner is a constant loop of movement. We know the important thing to you likely isn’t what happens behind the scenes, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to talk science or just about staying cool, give our experts a call at 662-269-8716. We will work with you and the laws of physics to confirm you comfortable this time around.

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