How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record numbers 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 glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a more difficult task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers 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 core components 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 sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which surges the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted 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 completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Dresden contact us at 1-866-781-0111. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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