How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record figures across the U.S. and most homes are using some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Though we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the professionals at Holiday Heating & Air Conditioning in Ballwin wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a larger responsibility to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central elements to your cooling system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be found indoors, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is changed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner runs on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Ballwin give us a call at 636-206-4250. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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