How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record figures throughout the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the professionals at Air Quality Solutions in Grove City would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your living space cool. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a more difficult responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, with your AC 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 home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

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

Your compressor is located 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 transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters 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. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned 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 operates on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Grove City contact us at 614-871-4144. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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