How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are hitting record highs across the country and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. Though we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the team at Comfort Zone Inc in Cape Coral would like to teach you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a larger responsibility to tackle. 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 changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels 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 main sections to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Cape Coral give us a call at 239-214-0411. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.