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 type of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to get out of the heat. As you are relaxing in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner runs well, let’s take a peek at how a typical cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the similar to your refrigerator, but understandably instead of keeping a little space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that adapts swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular circle from the outdoors to the interior of your house. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or absorbs heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then back 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 created out of four main pieces: 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 in your garage. As warm indoor air is blown across the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooler air is blown within your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor based in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor increases the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows by the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and returns the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is pushed to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.

Your AC system is an endless loop of processes. We realize the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s functioning correctly. If you’d like to think about the process or just about keeping cool, give our technicians a call at 641-812-2028. We will team up with you and the laws of physics to ensure you happy this season.

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