How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is reaching record numbers around the U.S. and the majority of homes are using some variety of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Though we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the experts at White Mechanical, Inc. in Laguna Hills would like to inform you how it works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a more difficult job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly alters 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 takes in heat from your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components to your cooling 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 indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is changed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes 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 via an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That concludes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Laguna Hills give us a call at 949-284-6382. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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