How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are reaching record highs across the U.S. and most homes are using some type of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Cooler Tymes LLC in Litchfield Park thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science behind keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from your indoor air and turns back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core sections to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the location your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs 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 via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner runs on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Litchfield Park give us a call at 623-208-6444. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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