How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The popular season has arrived with record heat across the country, and with a lot households having some type of air conditioner, it’s the best way to escape the sun. As you are relaxing in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner works, let’s gain some insight at how a typical AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the just like your refrigerator, but clearly rather than keeping a single space cool, it has to cool your entire home. Both use a refrigerant that converts easily from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant loop from the exterior to the interior of your house. 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 back 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 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 inside your home, 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 within your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor stationed 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 enters the condenser coil where a lower 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 returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is replicated.

Your AC system is a consistent loop of movement. We realize the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating successfully. If you’d like to think about the process or just about remaining cool, give our technicians a call at 561-533-6066 . We will partner with you and the laws of physics to confirm you happy this season.