How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temperatures are hitting record highs across the U.S. and most homes are utilizing some kind of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Though we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Durable Service in Holdrege thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science involved in keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a bigger task to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly changes 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 takes in heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit outside where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central elements to your cooling system: 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 established in the home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout the space inside your home.

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

That accomplishes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner runs on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Holdrege give us a call at 308-995-8177. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.