How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are climbing to record figures around the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the team at Goode Bros AC & Heating in Katy thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, of course your cooling system has a larger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant easily alters 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 takes in heat from your indoor air and turns back into vapor. This vapor then transfers 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 main sections to your AC system: 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 indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows 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 by an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an endless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Katy you can reach us at (833)-466-3322. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.