How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season has arrived with record temps across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some type 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, grateful that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how a typical AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the just like your refrigerator, but obviously instead of keeping a little space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that converts swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular ring from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the interior as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or takes in heat from your indoor air, 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 created out of four critical pieces: 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 inside your home, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the cooled air is pushed within your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor located in your outside condensing unit. The compressor increases the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where a smaller 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 redone.

Your air conditioner is a constant loop of movement. We realize the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating correctly. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about staying cool, give our experts a call at 614-451-0846. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you happy this summer.

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