How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Summer is in full swing with record temps across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to beat the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how a typical AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the same way as your refrigerator, but obviously rather than keeping a little space cool, it has to cool your entire 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 exterior to indoors. It goes into the interior as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or takes in heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is switched 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, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved over the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the cooled air is pushed within your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor located in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor meets the condenser coil where a smaller amount hot air blows past the coil, removing 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 might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s working the right way. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about remaining cool, give our professionals a call at 614-451-0846. We will work with you and the laws of physics to keep you happy this summer.

Back To Blog