How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season is here with record temps across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to escape the sun. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner works, let’s look at how a normal cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the similar to 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 changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular loop from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the interior as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or takes in heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then back 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 parts: 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 located in the garage. As warm indoor air is carried across the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the colder air is blown within your indoor space.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor stationed in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor meets the condenser coil where less hot air blows across the coil, eliminating the 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 repeated.

Your AC system is a consistent loop of movement. We realize the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to think about the process or just about staying cool, give our professionals a call at 614-450-1575. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you comfortable this time around.

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