How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are reaching record numbers around the states and most homes are running some variety of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the professionals at True Home Heating and Air Conditioning in Irvine thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your AC has a larger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant easily converts 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 inside the home and turns back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to your outdoor unit where the heat is freed 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 where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be found in the home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That accomplishes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner runs on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Irvine you can reach us at 949-258-7259. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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