How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temperatures are hitting record numbers throughout the states and many homes are running some type of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner works, the team at Freed Heating & Air Conditioning in Moline wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, but your cooling system has a larger job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly converts 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 turns 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 core elements 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 even in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which raises 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 runs across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Moline you can reach us at 309-323-9584. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.