How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season has arrived with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the ideal 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 look at how a normal cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner operates the similar to your refrigerator, but obviously instead of keeping a little space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole 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 regular loop from the outdoors to the interior of your house. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or takes in heat from your indoor air, 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 built of four key pieces: 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 indoors, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved across the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the cooler air is driven within your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor stationed in your outside condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where a smaller amount hot air blows past the coil, moving heat to the outdoors, and switches 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 replicated.

Your HVAC system is a consistent loop of processes. We realize the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s functioning the right way. If you’d like to think about the process or just about keeping cool, give our technicians a call at 972-669-9192. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to ensure you cool this summer.

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