How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temperatures are reaching record numbers across the U.S. and the majority of homes are using some kind of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Dearing's Service & Solutions in Huntingburg thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, of course 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 easily changes 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 soaks in heat from the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit outside where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components 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 indoors, in your garage or sometimes 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 your home.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which increases 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 changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Huntingburg you can reach us at 812-200-5844. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.