How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record numbers across the country and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at ACS Inc in Metro Atlanta thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a larger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your residence 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 moves 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 main sections to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air moves throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner functions on an relentless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Metro Atlanta contact us at 770-450-1539. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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