How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season is here with record heat across the country, and with a lot households having some type of air conditioner, it’s the best way to get out of the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how a typical central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner works the just like your refrigerator, but understandably rather than keeping a small space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that changes simply from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant loop from the outdoors to indoors. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or absorbs heat from your indoor air, expands back into vapor, then heads 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 main parts: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The component 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 situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown throughout the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooler air is blown among your indoor space.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows past the coil, moving heat to the outdoors, and returns the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.

Your air conditioner is an endless loop of processes. We know the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s working correctly. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about keeping cool, give our technicians a call at 662-350-0343. We will work with you and the laws of physics to confirm you comfortable this season.

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