How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record highs around the U.S. and many homes are using some variety of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Craig's Heating & Cooling in Bountiful wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a more difficult task to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your house 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 released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central components to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place 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 through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

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

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Bountiful contact us at 801-295-3357. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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