How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Summer has arrived with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some type of air conditioner, it’s the most effective way to beat the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner works, let’s gain some insight at how an average central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner works the same way as your refrigerator, but obviously rather than keeping a little space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that adapts easily from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent circle from the outdoors to the inside of your home. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or absorbs heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is switched back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is made of four critical pieces: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The part where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be indoors, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown throughout the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the cooled air is blown among your indoor space.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where a smaller amount hot air blows by the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is sent to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.

Your air conditioner is a consistent loop of movement. We understand the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating successfully. If you’d like to think about the process or just about keeping cool, give our experts a call at 601-736-7362 or book an appointment with us online. We will team up with you and the laws of physics to confirm you comfortable this time around.

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