How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season is in full swing with record heat across the country, and with a lot households having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the most effective way to escape the sun. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner works, let’s look at how a typical central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner works the similar to your refrigerator, but understandably instead of keeping a single space cool, it has to cool your entire home. Both use a refrigerant that adapts simply from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular ring from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or takes in 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 changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is built of four main pieces: 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 your home, in your attic, or in your garage. As warm indoor air is blown throughout the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooled air is blown throughout your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor based in your outside condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows by the coil, removing heat to the outdoors, and returns 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 replicated.

Your air conditioner is an endless loop of physics at work. We realize the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s functioning successfully. If you’d like to think about the process or just about keeping cool, give our experts a call at 308-995-8177. We will work with you and the laws of physics to keep you cool this summer.

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