How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record highs across the states and most homes are using some type of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at McFadden Heating & Cooling in Dresden thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your air conditioner has a more difficult task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from the indoors and turns back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main components to your air conditioner unit: 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 located in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which surges the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Dresden give us a call at 1-866-781-0111. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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