How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are reaching record numbers across the country and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling, Inc in Circleville would like to inform you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then travels 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 central sections 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 established indoors, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports 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 enters into the compressor which increases 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 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 relentless loop of science. We realize 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 Circleville give us a call at 740-474-5940. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.