How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is reaching record figures across the U.S. and the majority of homes are using some kind of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. Although we are all appreciative that your air conditioner is functioning, the professionals at Anderson Heating & A/C in Carson City would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your cooling system has a more difficult job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit outside where the heat is freed 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 where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is changed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves 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. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Carson City you can reach us at 775-230-7628. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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