How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record highs throughout the country and the majority of homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. Though we are all appreciative that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at County Line Mechanical LLC in Reinholds wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science involved in keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a bigger 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 outside your home. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your house 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 moves back to the unit outside where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central components 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 found in the home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports through 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 sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which raises 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 moves across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We understand 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 Reinholds give us a call at 717-216-0846. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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