man relaxing in air conditioning

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 would like to teach you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your living space cool. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your AC has a more difficult task to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner 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 enters your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from your indoor air and expands 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 air conditioner unit: 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 inside your 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 home.

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 flows across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil and through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Bountiful give us a call at 801-295-3357 or set up an appointment using our online scheduler. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.