How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record numbers across the U.S. and the majority of homes are running some kind of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the team at House of Heating Incorporated in Marshfield wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a bigger job to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant easily alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit outside where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central elements to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be established indoors, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

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

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Marshfield you can reach us at 888-384-3163. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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