How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is reaching record numbers throughout the U.S. and the majority of homes are using some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at US Air Heating and Cooling in Rock Hill would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a more difficult task to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner 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 goes into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and turns 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 core sections 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 transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows 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 runs across the coil, heat is moved 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. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Rock Hill give us a call at 803-980-4328. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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