How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record numbers across the states and the majority of homes are running some type of air conditioner to combat the smoldering heat. Though we are all appreciative that your air conditioner runs, the team at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. in Lake Forest thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your cooling system has a bigger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant easily converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 located in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor sits 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 transformed 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 pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is converted 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. The process is then repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Lake Forest contact us at 949-204-0859. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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