How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record figures around the country and most homes are using some type of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Farnell Mechanical, Inc. in Opelika would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your AC has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in 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 main components to your cooling system: 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 established inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken 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 raises the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is released 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 continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Opelika give us a call at 334-524-2458. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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