How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season has arrived with record highs across the country, and with a lot households having some type 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 runs well, let’s take a peek at how a typical cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the similar to your refrigerator, but understandably rather than keeping a small 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 indoors. 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 switched back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is built of four key 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, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved across the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooled air is driven within your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor based in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor increases 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, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and changes 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 professionals a call at 308-832-4327. We will work with you and the laws of physics to keep you comfortable this season.

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