How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record figures around the country and many homes are running some type of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at Carefree Heating and Cooling, LLC in Hamilton thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a more difficult responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to your outdoor unit where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central elements to your air conditioner unit: 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 found inside your home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is changed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves 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. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Hamilton give us a call at 513-275-3601. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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