How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temperatures are hitting record highs throughout the country and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning in Odessa thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a bigger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly converts 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 absorbs heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels 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 main elements to your cooling 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 inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor resides 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 converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows 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 through an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…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 you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Odessa give us a call at 432-237-0168. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.