How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record highs across the states and the majority of homes are running some variety of air conditioner to battle the summer 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 glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, but your cooling system has a larger responsibility to tackle. 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 effortlessly 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 your indoor air and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels 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 elements 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 located in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then sent 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 moves across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. 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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