How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season is in full swing with record temps across the country, and with many houses having some sort 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 functions, let’s take a peek at how a normal AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the just like your refrigerator, but clearly compared to keeping a small space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that converts swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant ring from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or absorbs 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 transferred back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is built of four main 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 inside your home, 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 colder air is pushed within your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where a lower 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 replicated.

Your HVAC system is an endless loop of processes. We understand the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s functioning successfully. If you’d like to think about the process or just about remaining cool, give our professionals a call at 561-533-6066 . We will work with you and the laws of physics to ensure you cool this summer.

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