How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are climbing to record numbers around the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Though we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Carefree Heating and Cooling, LLC in Hamilton wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a larger job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from the indoors and turns back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central components to your air conditioner unit: 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 established in the home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes across 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 surges 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 pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted 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 concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Hamilton you can reach us at 513-268-5164. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.