How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record figures throughout the states and most homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Daniel's Heating & Refrigeration Corp. in Midlothian thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters 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 freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main sections to your AC 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 found inside your home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor resides 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 changed 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 released outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Midlothian give us a call at 804-372-0313. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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