How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is reaching record highs around the country and the majority of homes are running some kind of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Although we are all appreciative that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. in South Beloit and Belvidere thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your air conditioner has a bigger responsibility 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 outside your home. This refrigerant quickly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 central sections to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the location your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be found in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which surges 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 moves across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We understand 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 South Beloit and Belvidere you can reach us at 877-389-2465. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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