How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record highs throughout the states and most homes are running some variety of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the experts at True Heating & Cooling in Westminster would like to inform you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, of course your AC has a bigger responsibility to tackle. 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 alters 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 inside the home 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 main elements 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 even in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor is located 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 transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Westminster give us a call at 720-316-1898. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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