How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is reaching record numbers throughout the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the team at US Air Heating and Cooling in Rock Hill wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your air conditioner has a more difficult job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner 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 goes into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from your indoor air and turns back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core sections 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 transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your home.

Your compressor sits 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 converted 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 runs on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Rock Hill contact us at 803-220-0761. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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