How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season has arrived with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to beat the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how an average AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner works the same way as your refrigerator, but clearly instead of keeping a little space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that adapts simply from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent ring from the outside to the interior of your house. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or soaks up heat from your indoor air, 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 parts: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The piece 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 blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooled air is blown among your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor based in your outside condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor meets the condenser coil where less hot air blows by the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and switches the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is sent to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.

Your HVAC system is a consistent loop of movement. We realize the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to think about the process or just about staying cool, give our technicians a call at 513-268-5164. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to confirm you comfortable this time around.

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